Sudanese cyber rally forces website to remove controversial ad
Yesterday was quite an unusual night for Sudaneseonline discussion board. For a moment it looked as if a tsunami has swept across the most popular Sudanese discussion board on the net. Each post on the first page of the discussion board was a condemnation of an ad on the first page placed by the Sudaneseonlineís administrator Bakri Abu Bakr, a Sudanese residing in
Arizona in the
United States. What was the ad that offended the members in this unprecedented manner? It was one for the government sponsored Sudanese Media Center (SMC).
Sudanese media center is an online based news portal in Arabic, English and French. It was founded in 2003 as a body independent of the governmental influence. It is widely believed however that SMC is run by
Sudanís National Security services headed by the notorious Salah Gosh. The latter is accused by numerous human rights organizations and US lawmakers as the mastermind of the killing campaign in
Sudanís western region of
ďIt is an attempt by [Sudanese] security services for a moral and media infiltration of
Sudanís largest websitesĒ says Abdel Aati, an author and an executive member of the Sudanese Liberal party. Asaad Ibrahim, a financial manager in
Nebraska, said that he considers SMC the ďmedia arm for
Sudanís National Security ServicesĒ.
Bakri Abu Bakr issued a statement yesterday saying that he placed the ad for ďpurely commercial reasonsĒ and rejected claims that he was under any kind of pressure from ďany civil or political organization to place the adĒ. He said SMC has agreed to Sudaneseonline terms and conditions before it requested a space for its ad and that he removed it upon the request of the boardís members. He also urged the members to put this behind them.
Some of Sudaneseonlineís members thought this was a critical test for solidarity against the Sudanese government. Abu-Huraira Zainelaabdin, a Sudanese Information systems specialist residing in
Washington, told Sudan Tribune that the Sudanese people can ďwin their freedom and will if they take a unified stance by throwing aside their political differencesĒ.
ďThis is slap on the wrist to the mightiest security body in
AfricaĒ he added.