Articles and Analysies
Sudanese cyber rally forces website to remove controversial ad by Wasil Ali
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Apr 19, 2007 - 9:33:50 PM

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 Sudaneseonline’s 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 Sudan’s 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 Sudan’s western region of Darfur.


“It is an attempt by [Sudanese] security services for a moral and media infiltration of Sudan’s largest websites” 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 “media arm for Sudan’s National Security Services”.


Bakri Abu Bakr issued a statement yesterday saying that he placed the ad for “purely commercial reasons” and rejected claims that he was under any kind of pressure from “any civil or political organization to place the ad”. 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 board’s members. He also urged the members to put this behind them.


Some of Sudaneseonline’s 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 “win their freedom and will if they take a unified stance by throwing aside their political differences”.


“This is slap on the wrist to the mightiest security body in Africa” he added.


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