Sudan’s Media Undersecretary: 500 Accusations Against ex-Regime Officials Under Investigation
The first anniversary of the revolution that toppled the regime of president Omar al-Bashir is marked with many challenges on peace and the economy.
This comes amid mounting criticism over the media’s role, as many believe that the Ministry of Culture and Information was working without any desire for improvement.
The ministry’s first undersecretary, Rashid Saiid Yacoub, admitted weaknesses in his ministry, but revealed that his team was working to restore its powers, which have been seized by the security services of the former regime.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Yacoub noted that efforts were underway to dismantle the institutions affiliated with the security apparatus through direct discussions and contacts with the leadership of the security body.
“The Ministry has prepared a new structure, which will be referred to the Ministry of Labor and Finance and the Council of Ministers, to start operating in 2020,” he said.
“The new structure includes unifying the departments of the ministry that were divided into three ministries, namely the media, culture and tourism and antiquities, and making changes in the leadership of the ministry’s organs,” he explained.
On a different note, Yacoub said that the formation of the investigation committees in the case of the June 1989 coup plotters was ongoing, adding that Bashir’s trial in the stacks of cash case, as well as 500 accusations made by the Public Prosecution against officials of the former regime were being investigated, pending the start of trials soon.
The Information Ministry’s undersecretary pointed to the difficult living conditions and peace challenges facing the Sudanese people, saying: “People face difficult living conditions, and the prices of goods and services are increasing steadily, along with a scarcity in some commodities, despite the stability of their prices, such as fuel and bread, as well as difficulties in the health and education sectors resulting from the policies of the previous regime.”
Yacoub expected the new budget to contribute to meeting these challenges, by allocating more than 50 percent of revenues to the education and health sectors, and reducing spending on security and defense from 70 to 20 percent.
On media, the ministry’s undersecretary ruled out any interference with press freedoms, although most newspapers were against the revolution and owned or linked to former regime figures.
“In our dealings with these newspapers, we rely on the principle of freedom, which is at the forefront of the slogans of the revolution. We will not interfere through security or administrative measures against those newspapers, unless they threaten the march of democratic change,” he underlined.
Yacoub pledged to give the Sudanese youth opportunities within his ministry “because they are the fuel that contributed to the victory of the revolution.”
“We will work to include 250 young people within the new budget of the ministry, and we will open the door to finance youth initiatives in arts, cinema, theater and music,” he underlined.