The Media and Sudan: Why Such Poor Journalism?

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The Sudanese civil war has been fought off and on since 1955 between the Sudanese government and rebels in southern Sudan. Since 1983 the war in the south has been largely conducted by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) led by John Garang. (1) Media coverage of Sudan, and the Sudanese conflict, beset as most conflicts are by considerable propaganda and disinformation, provides observers with example after example of remarkably poor journalism. Western, and particularly English-language, media coverage of Sudan is important as it has a clear capacity to influence public opinion within the United States and United Kingdom with regard to Sudan, opinion which in some cases can itself further influence government policy towards that country. Despite this responsibility, in many instances Sudan has been poorly served by international journalism. This is at least in part because until comparatively recently Sudan was not seen as an important issue for serious reporting. No international newspapers keep correspondents in Sudan itself: the events within Sudan are covered by correspondents in Nairobi, Cairo or in some instances by journalists who fly in from abroad for a few days and then leave. There are also many journalists who only visit one side to the conflict. News agency reports by Reuters and Agence France Presse, also provided by local stringers, tend to dominate what coverage there is. At least some of the misinterpretation, or outright misrepresentation, of Sudanese issues has been the result of poor, sensationalistic and sometimes politically partisan reporting by elements of the international media. This type of reporting has a distinct responsibility for some of the problems Sudan now faces.

Mr. Andrew Buckoke, a British foreign correspondent who has written for ‘The Guardian’, ‘The Economist’, ‘The Observer’, ‘The Financial Times’ and ‘The Times’, has described prime examples of blatant media distortion with regard to Sudan, even on issues unrelated to war. Stating that: “Most of the writers settle for the exaggeration of the romantic or sensational aspects” (2), Buckoke provides the example of the sensationalistic coverage of the floods of August 1988. Torrential rain on the headwaters of both the White Nile and Blue Niles had resulted in intense press prediction and speculation that Khartoum “would disappear under a gigantic whirlpool”. (3) Buckoke was sent to cover this impending disaster and found there was none to report on: “The Nile never did burst its banks, nor was any significant damage due to the downpour evident in central Khartoum”. (4) This, however, did not stop “the story…being taken very seriously in the outside world, and I was rebuked by a telex demanding more drama and detail”. Despite their being a non-event, “the floods were the biggest story out of black Africa”. (5) Buckoke questioned the international coverage: “Words like catastrophic and devastating were freely bandied about, even before any considered eyewitness reports had emerged. How did the coverage and the response of relief agencies get so distorted and imbalanced, as they so often do when Africa is involved? Well it was August, but there were other reasons. The floods were relatively easy to get to and made good television.” (6) He also notes that:

“Many of the journalists who flooded into Khartoum did not know how little changed most of the city was, never having been there before, but before they even arrived the whole story was out of control. Journalists, aid agency workers, the government and donors had been caught from the beginning in a self-sustaining spiral of exaggeration. Initial reports made it sound like the greatest natural disaster of the decade.” (7)

‘Buckoke concludes that: “the media were simply stuck with their initial overestimation of the story and the editors’ continuing demand for drama”. Much the same can be said about allegations of “slavery”, international terrorism and weapons of mass destruction in Sudan.

In the absence of consistent reporting many newspapers have been more than content to go with “accepted” wisdom on Sudan – wisdom characterised in large part by bias, pivotal factual inaccuracies, misperceptions and often blatant disinformation. Even for those who have sought to put together a “balanced” article, questionable sources often result in questionable journalism. There are several reasons that can be advanced to explain why it is that the media has on many occasions seriously misrepresented both the Sudanese situation and events within that country.

A Case Study in Poor Journalism: Claims that southern Sudan is “Christian” or that the SPLA is “Christian”

There are many facets of poor journalism. The inability to get simple but strategically important facts right in coverage of Sudan is a clear example of unacceptably weak journalism. Newspaper claims of a Christian majority in southern Sudan is a case in point. Not only is this factually inaccurate but more importantly it is a fundamental distortion of the situation in Sudan. This is an unforgivable inaccuracy for any newspaper to make. Sudan is an overwhelmingly Islamic country, with Muslims making up well over 75 percent of the population. (8) Christians make up 4 percent of the national population, and perhaps between 10-15 percent of the southern population. (9) By far the majority of southerners are neither Christian nor Muslim, and are adherents of native animist religions. Claims of a “Christian south”, forced to live under Islamic law, with all the implications for religious conflict, merely perpetuate an inaccurate stereotype of Sudan, and an equally inaccurate and superficial context for the Sudanese conflict. This is somewhat similar to claiming that Northern Ireland is Catholic. Such elementary mistakes would not be allowed in reporting of First World affairs, but apparently appallingly inaccurate journalism is perfectly permissible in “coverage” of the developing world.

Unprofessionalism of this sort in coverage of Sudan can be found across the board. Newspapers of record such as The Washington Post have also made this very error. (10) The BBC has repeatedly done so (11), with its religious affairs correspondent claiming at one stage that Christian churches “minister to about 40 percent of Sudan’s population”. (12) ‘The Economist’ has also made similar mistakes (13), as have news agencies as diverse as Reuters (14), Kenya News Agency (15) and Africa Online (16), television companies such as ABC (17) and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (18), relief organisations (19), and newspapers such as the ‘South African Mail and Guardian’ (20) and ‘The Financial Post’ (21) and ‘The Globe and Mail’ of Canada. (22)

‘The Daily Telegraph’ in particular provides observers with a clear example of how a newspaper of record, Britain’s largest circulation title, has repeatedly, and possibly even knowingly, seriously misrepresented the issue of Christianity in Sudan and southern Sudan especially. The newspaper has referred to the “Christian” south in Sudan for a number of years, since, for example, 1995. (23) The newspaper has also repeatedly referred to SPLA rebels as a “Christian” organisation, ignoring the fact that if that were the case it would be representative of a small minority within southern Sudan itself. (24) It has made these claims, at least since 1998, having been made perfectly aware that its assertions were widely inaccurate and distorted perceptions of the Sudanese conflict. (25) It cannot be said that it is inexperienced, cub, reporters who are making such elementary mistakes. A ‘Daily Telegraph’ article, “The Church in Rags”, written by the veteran reporter Lord Deedes demonstrated a continuing disregard to facts in speaking of “the Christian south”. (26)

A Case Study in Sensationalism: Allegations of “Slavery” and “Slave Redemption” in Sudan

One of the most damaging and recurring media themes with regard to Sudan has been allegations of government-sponsored “slavery” and “slave trade” in Sudan. As “proof” for this, a great number of newspaper articles have “reported” instances of “slave redemption” in which alleged “slaves” were said to have been “bought” back from “slave traders”, stories presented to them by the Swiss-based Christian Solidarity International (CSI). Articles essentially taking Christian Solidarity International claims about “slavery” and “slave redemption” at face value have appeared throughout the world, and have been published in several reputable newspapers and journals, including ‘Newsweek’ (27), ‘Time’ (28), CNN (29), ‘Reader’s Digest’ (30), ‘The Wall Street Journal’ (31), ‘The New York Times’ (32), ‘The Washington Post’ (33), ‘International Herald Tribune’ (34), ‘USA Today’ (35), ‘The Times’ (36), ‘The Observer’ (37) and ‘The Daily Telegraph’ (38). Important regional newspapers as far apart as ‘The Los Angeles Times’ (39) to ‘The Houston Chronicle’ (40) have also repeated CSI claims. Reputable news agencies such as Reuters has also repeatedly reported CSI claims seemingly as fact. (41) So have other news agencies such as Agence France Presse (42), Associated Press (43) and UPI (44). Several regional news agencies have also run with the claims. (45) The BBC also conspicuously accepted CSI claims at face value, publishing numerous articles citing their claims. (46) Christian Solidarity International’s newspaper propaganda outreach extended all the way down to school groups in Colorado (47), radio talk show hosts (48) through to rock stars. (49)

The Canadian media has also been remarkably unprofessional in accepting CSI’s controversial claims. ‘The Ottawa Citizen’ ran a five-day series on “slavery” in Sudan. (50) In 1997, ‘The Calgary Sun’ ran an eight- part series uncritically citing CSI claims. (51) In April 2000, ‘Maclean’s’, Canada’s premier magazine, also ran an extensive, front- cover, CSI feature. (52)

Christian Solidarity International was also able to get its anti-Sudan propaganda “theatre” onto American network television. The 1999 season premiere of the CBS network show, “Touched By An Angel”, featured “slave redemption” in Sudan. (53) By the show’s executive producer own admission, this episode was intended to influence the passage of anti- Sudanese legislation through Congress. (54) This CSI propaganda piece, based on claims of a CSI-style “slave redemption” of the sort subsequently seen to be fraudulent, was viewed by an estimated 20 million Americans.

The damage done to Sudan’s reputation by Christian Solidarity International’s claims of “slavery” and “slave redemption” in that country is clear. Yet these claims have now been comprehensively exposed as fraudulent and untrustworthy. A Western diplomat in Khartoum stated that CSI has “zero credibility” among mainstream aid organisations and the United Nations. (55)

It should be noted that Sir Robert ffolkes, director of the Save the Children (UK) programme in Sudan, an organisation at the forefront of the abductions issue, has publicly stated: “I have seen no evidence at all of slave trading. And believe me, we have looked”. (56) Sir Robert has also said: “I do not believe the government in involved in slave- taking.” (57) Exposes of the claims made by CSI began to emerge as early as 1999. (58) Also in that year, respected Italian priest Father Renato Kizito Sesana, long active in southern Sudan, questioned CSI’s claims. Writing in the Kenyan Sunday Nation, he observed: “When you know the reality of Sudan on the ground, you cannot believe that it is possible to come to Nairobi from Switzerland, the following day hire a plane at Wilson Airport, fly somewhere in Sudan with a pocketful of money and redeem 1,050 slaves. Somebody, somewhere, plays a dirty trick.” (59) One month later, Father Renato added that he was “afraid” that CSI “might have fallen victims of some fraud perpetrated by local people, possibly with the connivance of elements living abroad who have some more or less legitimate interests in the area. Only the Swiss branch of CSI is involved in the redemption of slaves. The German and Austrian branches, that were involved at the beginning, have withdrawn. What were their reasons? Did they smell a rat, too?” (60) In 2000, the Canadian government also clearly questioned the credibility of large- scale “slave redemptions” as claimed by CSI: “[R]eports, especially from CSI, about very large numbers were questioned, and frankly not accepted. Mention was also made to us of evidence that the SPLA were involved in “recycling” abductees…” (61)

In February 2002, in an unprecedented international focus, and as the result of some excellent investigative journalism, ‘The Irish Times’, London’s ‘Independent on Sunday’, ‘The Washington Post’ and ‘International Herald Tribune’, chose to publish, or republish, articles exposing the deep fraud and corruption at the heart of CSI’s claims of “slave redemption” in Sudan. (62) These articles are the culmination of long-standing concerns about the activities of several organisations involved in what had become a Western-financed “redemption” industry in parts of Sudan. The claims by organisations and people such as John Eibner and the Swiss-based Christian Solidarity International (CSI), and Baroness Cox’s Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) themselves, to have “redeemed” tens of thousands of Sudanese “slaves” have been sharply called into question. ‘The Washington Post’ reported that in numerous documented instances “the slaves weren’t slaves at all, but people gathered locally and instructed to pretend they were returning from bondage”. (63) ‘The Independent on Sunday’ reported that it was able to “reveal that ‘redemption’ has often been a carefully orchestrated fraud”. (64) Rev. Cal Bombay, whose Crossroads Christian Communications organisation in Canada had been involved in “slave redemptions” revealed that SPLA leaders such as Dr Samson Kwaje, in candid comments about “slave redemption”, “doubted that even 5%” of the “slaves” had ever been abducted, and that “they were coached in how to act, and stories to tell.” (65)

‘The Irish Times’ reported “According to aid workers, missionaries, and even the rebel movement that facilitates it, slave redemption in Sudan is often an elaborate scam.” ‘The Irish Times’ article also stated that in many cases “the process is nothing more than a careful deceit, stage- managed by corrupt officials”.

In reality, many of the ‘slaves’ are fakes. Rebel officials round up local villagers to pose for the cameras. They recruit fake slavers – a light skinned soldier, or a passing trader, to ‘sell’ them. The children are coached in stories of abduction and abuse for when the redeemer, or a journalist, asks questions. Interpreters may be instructed to twist their answers. The money, however, is very real. CSI can spend more than $300,000 during a week of redemptions at various bush locations. After their plane takes off, the profits are divvied up – a small cut to the “slaves” and the “trader” but the lion’s share to local administrators and SPLA figures.

In an open letter in 2000 senior SPLA commander Aleu Ayieny Aleu stated that “slave redemption” had become a “racket of mafia dimensions”. He also revealed, as an example, that one of his lighter-skinned relatives, SPLA captain Akec Tong Aleu, had been “forced several times to pretend as an Arab and simulate the sale of free children to CSI on camera”. (66) Aleu declared: “It was a hoax. This thing has been going on for no less than six years”. (67) This account, ‘The Washington Post’ stated, “coincides with descriptions of the scam offered by Sudanese officials and Western aid workers, who said the sheer volume of money flowing into the south made corruption inevitable.” (68) The newspaper also reported that “prevalent fraud is acknowledged by senior rebel officials”. The newspaper stated: “By many accounts, individual rebel commanders are deeply involved in redemption scams”. ‘The Irish Times’ observed that one SPLA commander has earned enough from the scam to acquire forty wives. (69) Other SPLA figures were said to have built houses or financed businesses with their cuts. (70)

‘The Irish Times’ further made clear that:

“[T]he warning signs have been there for years. Within the SPLA, whispers of suspicion have swelled into a chorus of criticism in recent years. Acrimonious rows have broken out and accusations profiteering levelled at individuals. Outside the rebel ranks, aid workers have been puzzled. It seems almost incredible that tens of thousands of abducted civilians could cross a dangerous frontline undetected by government forces. Moreover, aid workers north of the line saw no evidence of large movements south, and their colleagues in the south saw no sudden demand for extra food or medicines by redeemed salves. Put simply, the numbers didn’t add up. And yet no questions were asked. The dollars rolled in and the redemptions continued. “

The issue of “slave redemption” fraud straddles several themes including the ability of pressure groups to get their stories into local and national media. The self-styled American Anti-Slavery Group, based in Boston, has managed to place a number of questionable articles in local media.

The Issue of Bias in the Media

American Civil liberties lawyer Morris Ernst, who represented the Newspaper Guild in the 1930s, noted in a legal brief: “The Constitution does not guarantee objectivity of the press, nor is objectivity obtainable in a subjective world. The question really raised is not whether news shall be unprejudiced, but rather whose prejudices shall color the news.” (71)

The 1999 American Society of Newspaper Editors report stated that “Among the majority of the public that believes the news media are biased, 42 percent see TV as the worst offender; 23 percent say that newspapers are the most biased news medium.” (72) There were at least three working definitions of bias offered. Thirty percent of the American public saw bias as “not being open-minded and neutral about the facts.” Twenty-nine percent defined bias as “having an agenda, and shaping the news report to fit it.” A similar percentage saw bias as “favouritism to a particular social or political group.” (73)

A Case Study in Bias: Claims of Christian Persecution in Sudan

‘The Daily Telegraph’ of London has sadly provided numerous examples of questionable journalism. One article which met all three of the working definitions of bias mentioned above was ‘The Church in Rags’, published on 30 March 1999. This article was written by veteran British journalist Lord Deedes and Victoria Combe. That this was biased reporting was very clear. The article referred to the Sudanese Catholic Archbishop Gabriel Zubeir Wako being released from a police cell in Khartoum, “having been arrested on a trumped-up charge involving an unpaid grocery bill.” There are several facts with regard to this which Lord Deedes and Victoria Combe appear to have ignored or missed. The “grocery bill” in question was more than US$ 660,000. This bill was incurred by Sudanaid, the Sudanese Catholic Church’s own relief agency, in 1988-90, and was owed to the private Sudanese trading firm Abu Huzaifah. The firm has gone to court on numerous occasions over the past decade to recover the US$ 660,000, and in 1998 secured a court order freezing Sudanaid’s accounts as well as seizing several Sudanaid vehicles to be held against the outstanding bill. The civil court on learning that Sudanaid personnel had resisted the seizure of vehicles ordered the arrest of the head of Sudanaid, Archbishop Zubeir, on 1 May 1998. In considerably more accurate coverage of the issue Agence France Presse on 1 May 1998 reported that:

“Sudanaid…was unable to get the Omdurman civil court ruling overturned when it first went to the appeal court and then to a tribunal of five judges set up by the chief justice. Under the initial ruling, the Omdurman court ordered the freezing of Sudanaid’s accounts with Citibank and the seizure of the relief agency’s vehicles. The court ordered Wako’s arrest after being informed by police that Sudanaid personnel had ‘resisted’ the taking away of the vehicles.”

This course of events is remarkably similar to how a comparable civil case would have proceeded in Britain. That this was a civil rather than a political decision was evident in the Sudanese government’s embarrassment given that Archbishop Zubeir was to be present during peace negotiations that month in Kenya. The Sudanese President intervened to request the suspension of the arrest, but the local courts went ahead. The Archbishop was subsequently bailed. ‘The Daily Telegraph’ article was a prime example of “not being open-minded and neutral about the facts”, of journalists “having an agenda, and shaping the news report to fit it”, and in so doing demonstrating “favouritism to a particular social or political group.”

Sudan, Journalism and Disinformation

The importance of the media within any conflict or controversial issue is clear. It is equally obvious that there will be attempts to influence media coverage of conflicts by parties to any such conflicts. A particularly insidious sort of manipulation has been the systematic and deliberate use of “disinformation”. Sudan has been a repeated focus for such attention. As much was admitted by American officials, and there are numerous, well-documented examples of such media manipulation. In his account of his time in Sudan, for example, former United States ambassador to Sudan, Donald Petterson, provided one example of such anti-Sudanese disinformation in the early 1990s:

“Reports appeared in the media that hundreds, even thousands of Iranians, many of them Revolutionary Guard military and security police advisers, had come to Sudan…The reports were based in part on information provided by Egyptian intelligence sources, which were conducting an assiduous disinformation campaign against Sudan. The truth was something far less alarming. There were Iranian advisers and technicians in Sudan, and Shiite propagandists and clerics as well, yet their numbers were relatively small, certainly nothing like the numbers being reported by the Western press.” (74)

The United States government was also party to spreading this particular piece of disinformation, with news reports by the U.S. Information Agency claiming that 2,000 Iranian revolutionary guards were in Sudan. (75) Even Time magazine saw fit to carry similar claims. (76) They were also carried in several Western newspapers in the early 1990s. By 1994, ‘The Independent’ newspaper in London was also able to confirm that “intelligence assessments…say that reports of Iranian revolutionary guards [in Sudan]…are without foundation”. (77)

One example of a particularly questionable article was that written by well-known American journalist, William Safire, in ‘The New York Times’, and echoed in ‘The Washington Times’, claiming that Iraq was financing a $475 million weapons of mass destruction missile factory in Sudan. The source was said to have been a “Pentagon intelligence agency report.” (78) The British government later revealed that there was no evidence for such a claim. (79) This disinformation, at the expense of Sudan and Sudan’s reputation, was clearly linked to attempts to justify the introduction of a National Missile Defence shield, the “son of Star Wars”, with the spectre of convenient “rogue” states.

It must be said that ‘The Daily Telegraph’ and ‘The Sunday Telegraph’ seem to have been remarkably accident-prone with regard to anti-Sudanese disinformation. In 1994, for example, ‘The Sunday Telegraph’ repeated discredited claims about an Iranian presence in Sudan: “At any given time there are estimated to be 3,000 of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in Sudan”. (80) In August 1998, ‘The Daily Telegraph’ claimed that the Iraqi air force had somehow been flown to Sudan to avoid its destruction in the Gulf War. (81) The newspaper did not explain quite how several hundred Iraqi fighter-bombers were able to fly over Saudi Arabian or Israeli airspace without being challenged or destroyed at that somewhat sensitive time. In an equally inventive 1999 article, ‘The Daily Telegraph’ claimed that Osama bin-Laden was buying child slaves from Ugandan rebels and using them as forced labour on marijuana farms in Sudan in order to fund international terrorism. (82) When asked about this claim, the British government stated they had seen no evidence for such allegations. (83) On 26 August 2001, the London ‘Sunday Telegraph’ newspaper published an article alleging that China was deploying 700,000 soldiers to Sudan to protect Chinese interests in the Sudanese oil project. (84) When asked in Parliament asked about this allegation, the British government stated that “We have no evidence of the presence of any Chinese soldiers in Sudan, let alone the figure of 700,000 alleged in one press report”. (85) Even the Clinton Administration, as hostile as it was to the Sudanese authorities, dismissed the claims, stating that even “the figure of tens of thousands of troops is just not credible based on information available to us”. (86)

The above instances are just some of the many examples of media inaccuracy, misrepresentation, bias and sensationalism that have often grotesquely distorted how Sudan and the Sudanese conflict has been seen internationally. It can be said that media misrepresentation and distortion, in fuelling prejudices within the United States and elsewhere, has itself possibly prolonged the war in Sudan. It is time that the media took its responsibilities seriously.

Notes:

1 The SPLA is sometimes also referred to as the SPLM/A, a reference to the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, ostensibly the political component of the organisation. ‘The Economist’ states that “the rebels have always, in theory, been a political movement as well as an army. In practice, the army was the movement” (March 1998). This publication refers to the organisation as the SPLA.

2 Andrew Buckoke, ‘Fishing in Africa: A Guide to War and Corruption’, Picador, London, 1992, p.42.

3 Ibid, p.41.

4 Ibid, p.44.

5 Ibid, p.43.

6 Ibid, p.44.

7 Ibid, p.44.

8 See, for example, ‘Annual Report on International Religious Freedom for 1999: Sudan’, U.S. Department of State, Washington DC, 9 September 1999.

9 There is a certain amount of divergence in respect of estimates of the religious breakdown of the southern population. Human Rights Watch states that 4 percent of the population are Christian and that about 15 percent of southern Sudanese are Christian (“Religious Persecution in Sudan”, Testimony of Jemera Rone, Human Rights Watch before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Subcommittee on Africa, 25 September 1997). The Economist Intelligence Unit in its report entitled ‘Sudan: Country Profile 1994-95’ also puts the Christian population of southern Sudan at 15 percent. The definitive United States government guide, ‘Sudan – A Country Study’, published by the Federal Research division and Library of Congress, states that “In the early 1990s possibly no more than 10 percent of southern Sudan’s population was Christian.” Muslims may make up a similar percentage in southern Sudan.

10 “Averting Famine in Sudan”, ‘The Washington Post’, 4 January 1999, “largely Christian population of the south”.

11 See, for example, articles such as “Sudan Haunted by Slavery”, News Article by BBC News, 15 August 1999, “largely Christian south”; “Sudan Moves Turabi out of Jail”, News Article by BBC News, 30 May 2001, “mainly Christian south”; “US Peace Envoy Starts Sudan Mission”, News Article by BBC News, 14 November 2001, “mainly Christian rebels”.

12 See, “George Carey Wants to Encourage Peace in Sudan”, News Article by BBC News World Service, 30 April 2000.

13 “Sudan: Coming out of the Cold”, ‘The Economist’, 4 October 2001, “mainly Christian south”.

14 See, for example, “Sudan Oil State Favours Secession, Governor Doesn’t”, News Article by Reuters, 12 May 1998, “mainly African and Christian south”; See also “Agencies Protest Over Sudanese Food Centre Attack”, News Article by Reuters Alertnet, 5 March 2002, “mainly Christian south” and “Oil Firm Could Face Sanctions”, News Article by ABC News, 26 October 1999, “predominantly Christian south”.

15 “Factions Accused of Derailing Sudan Peace Efforts”, News Article by Kenya News Agency, 19 June 2001, “mainly Christian south”.

16 “Sudan: Military Solution Won’t Work Says Afeworki”, News Article by Africa Online, 1 December 2001, “mainly Christian south”.

17 “Oil Firm Could Face Sanctions”, News Article by ABC News, 26 October 1999, “predominantly Christian south”.

18 “Child Soldiers Continue the Battle in Sudan”, Program Broadcast by Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 18 July 2001, “the predominantly Christian south”.

19 “Sudan on Brink of ‘Unprecedented Calamity’ as War, Famine Continue”, News Article by Disaster Relief, 16 December 1998, “Christian South”.

20 “Massacres End Three Month Sudan Ceasefire”, ‘Mail and Guardian’ (Johannesburg), 8 March 1999, “mainly Christian south”.

21 “Analysts Upbeat About Talisman’s Sudan Role”, ‘Financial Post’ (Toronto), November 1999, “largely Christian south”.

22 ‘My week on the cusp of war’, ‘The Globe and Mail’, 17 December 1999, “Christian South”.

23 See, for example, “Ugandans ‘helping rebels’ in Sudan”, ‘The Daily Telegraph’ (London), 31 October 1995, which refers to “the Christian south”; “Rebel victories revive ‘forgotten war'”, ‘The Daily Telegraph’ (London), 11 January 1996, refers to “the predominantly Christian south”; “Sudan rebels take control of south after key victory”, ‘The Daily Telegraph’ (London), 9 May 1997, refers to “the largely Christian African south”; “Talks on Sudan offer scant hope of averting famine”, ‘The Daily Telegraph’ (London), 5 May 1998, refers to “largely Christian southern rebels”; “Charities buy freedom for Sudan’s child slaves”, ‘The Daily Telegraph’ (London), 24 May 1998, refers to “mainly-Christian southern Sudan region”; “The Church in rags”, ‘The Daily Telegraph’ (London), 30 March 1999, refers to “an African Christian south”; “Old War claims new victims”, ‘The Daily Telegraph’ (London), 15 February 2000, refers to a “mostly Christian south”.

24 “Little faith in Sudan’s Islamic regime”, ‘The Daily Telegraph’ (London), 15 July 1995, refers to “Christian rebels in the south”; “Sudan regime ‘blocking food aid'”, ‘The Daily Telegraph’ (London), 2 August 1995, refers to “Christian rebels”; “Spectre of famine creeps up on Sudan”, ‘The Daily Telegraph’ (London), 12 April 1998, refers to the SPLA as “a largely Christian southern rebel group”.

25 There were several letters from the British-Sudanese Public Affairs Council to the foreign editor of ‘The Daily Telegraph’ outlining in detail the independently-verifiable facts of the religious composition of southern Sudan and Sudan itself.

26 “The Church in Rags”, ‘The Daily Telegraph’ (London), 30 March 1999.

27 “Out of Bondage”, ‘Newsweek’, 3 May 1999. See, also, the sympathetic article on Baroness Cox, “Grandmother, Lord, Rebel”, ‘Newsweek’, 12 March 2001.

28 “Baroness Who Frees the Slaves”, ‘Time’ (European Edition), 26 July 2001.

29 See, for example, “Buying the Freedom of Slaves in Sudan”, News Article by CNN, 20 December 1997.

30 “Slavery Shameful Return to Africa”, ‘Reader’s Digest’, March 1996.

31 “Black Slaves in Africa”, ‘The Wall Street Journal’, 2 November 1995.

32 There have been several Articles. See, for example, “Selling Sudan’s Slaves into Freedom”, ‘The New York Times’, 25 April 1999; “Modern-Day Slavery”, ‘The New York Times’, 9 September 2000; “Redemption of Sudanese Slaves”, editorial, ‘The New York Times’, 27 April 2001

33 “The Price of Freedom in Sudan”, ‘The Washington Post’, 1 May 1999.

34 See, “Two Goats Can Free a Slave in Sudan”, ‘International Herald Tribune’, 29 June 2001.

35 “Congress’ Words, Sudan’s Slaves”, ‘USA Today’, 26 September 2000.

36 “Sudanese children sold as slaves, say Christian groups”, ‘The Times’ (London), 16 March 1996.

37 “Sudan revives the slave trade”, ‘The Observer’ (London), 9 April 1995.

38 See, for example, “2,000 Slaves Freed in one Week”, ‘The Daily Telegraph’, 9 July 1999, “Slave Traders Cash in on Human Misery”, ‘The Daily Telegraph’, 8 February 2000.

39 See, “In Sudan, a 12 Year-Old Girl Can be Bought for $50”, ‘The Los Angeles Times’, 28 December 1998; “Swiss-Based Rights Group Helps Buy Freedom of 1,050 Slaves”, ‘The Los Angeles Times’, 29 January 1999.

40 “U.S. Cannot Ignore Horror of Slavery in Sudan”, ‘The Houston Chronicle’, 20 May 2001.

41 See, for example, “Swiss Group Says it Freed 1,783 Sudanese Slaves”, News Article by Reuters, 20 April 1999; “Aid Group Redeems Over 2,000 Slaves in south Sudan”, News Article by Reuters, 8 July 1999; “Aid Group Tries to Break Sudan Slavery Chain”, News Article by Reuters, 11 July 1999; “Christian Group Buys Freedom for More Sudan Slaves”, News Article by Reuters, 7 October 1999; “Mass Liberation of Slaves in Sudan, Group Says”, News Article by Reuters, 20 December 2001.

42 “Swiss NGO Buys Freedom for 4,000 Sudanese Slaves”, News Article by Agence France Presse, 1 February 2000.

43 “Slave Trade Thrives in Sudan”, News Article by Associated Press, 9 February 1998.

44 “Boston Group Pays to Free Sudan Slaves”, News Article by UPI, 13 July 2001.

45 See, for example, “Redeemed Slaves Speak of Assault. Brutality by Masters”, All Africa News Agency, 2 March 1999.

46 See, for example, articles such as “Slaves Freed in Sudan”, News Article by BBC News, 28 January 1999; “More Slaves Freed in Sudan”, News Article by BBC News, 22 February 1999; “More Slaves Freed in Sudan”, News Article by BBC News, 8 July 1999; “More Slaves Freed in Sudan”, News Article by BBC News, 7 October 1999; “More Sudanese Slaves Freed”, News Article by BBC News, 8 October 1999; “Freedom for Thousands of Sudanese Slaves”, News Article by BBC News, 22 December 1999

47 “Youthful Crusaders Get Boost”, ‘The Denver Post’, 2 March 1999; “Aurora Kids Fighting Sudan Slavery Visit D.C.”, ‘The Denver Post’, 9 June 2000; “Fifth-Grade Freedom Fighters”, ‘The Washington Post’, 1 August 1998; “Students Protest Slavery in Sudan”, ‘The Philadelphia Inquirer’, 19 May 2001.

48 See, for example, “The Black Eagle Swoops into Sudan”, ‘Village Voice’, 16 May 2001.

49 “Rock Star Helps Free Slaves in Sudan”, ‘Miami Herald’, 15 December 2001.

50 See article in response, “Sudanese Diplomat Blasts Slavery Stories”, ‘The Ottawa Citizen’, 7 March 1999.

51 For a critique of this series see ‘Fuelling War in Sudan and Prejudice in Canada? The Calgary Sun and Sudan’, The European-Sudanese Public Affairs Council, London, 2000.

52 “Freeing the Slaves of Sudan”, ‘Maclean’s’ (Toronto), 10 April 2000.

53 “For Such a Time as This”, ‘Touched by an Angel’, CBS, 26 September 1999. Ironically, it was a CBS ’60 Minutes’ programme, “The Slave Trade and Mass Redemptions Hoax in Sudan”, screened on 16 May 2002, that subsequently exposed the fraudulent nature of CSI’s claims.

54 See, for example, “Basis for our Statement that the Writer of the ‘Angels in Sudan’ Episode Said it was ‘Propaganda'”, South Sudan Friends, at http://southsudanfriends.org/tba2.html

55 “Baroness Faces Anger Over Sudan ‘Slave Scam'”, ‘The National Post’ (Toronto), 20 April 2002.

56 Sir Robert ffolkes was quoted in “‘Sudan’, A Special International Report”, ‘The Washington Times’, 10 July 2001.

57 “Anti-Slavery Drive in War-Torn Sudan Provokes Response Critics Say Buyback Boost Market”, ‘The Washington Times’, 25 May 2000.

58 See Richard Miniter, “The False Promise of Slave Redemption”, ‘The Atlantic Monthly’, July 1999.

59 ‘Sunday Nation’, 21 February 1999.

60 See, “Redeeming Slaves in Sudan: Truth of Trickery?”, ‘Africa News’, Nairobi, March 1999.

61 John Harker, ‘Human Security in Sudan: The Report of a Canadian Assessment Mission’, Prepared for the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ottawa, January 2000

62 “The Great Slave Scam”, ‘The Irish Times’, 23 February 2002; “Scam in Sudan – An Elaborate Hoax Involving Fake African Slaves and Less-than-Honest Interpreters is Duping Concerned Westerners”, ‘The Independent on Sunday’ (London), 24 February 2002; “Ripping Off Slave ‘Redeemers’: Rebels Exploit Westerners’ Efforts to Buy Emancipation for Sudanese”, ‘The Washington Post’, 26 February 2002; “Sudan Rip-Offs Over Phony Slaves”, ‘International Herald Tribune’, 27 February 2002. “Slave Redemption” has also been extensively questioned. See, for example, Richard Miniter, “The False Promise of Slave Redemption”, ‘The Atlantic Monthly’, July 1999; ‘The Reality of Slave Redemption’, European- Sudanese Public Affairs Council, London, March 2001; ‘The Use of Intertribal Raiding as ‘Slavery’ Propaganda in Sudan: A Statement of Concern to Mrs Mary Robinson, The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights’, European-Sudanese Public Affairs Council, London, March 200, all available at http://www.espac.org

. Christian Solidarity International’s Sudan activities have long been seriously questioned. See, for example, ‘Time to Speak out on Christian Solidarity International and Sudan: An Open Letter to Anti-Slavery International’, European-Sudanese Public Affairs Council, London, June 2001; ‘Prejudiced and Discredited: Christian Solidarity International and Sudan’, European-Sudanese Public Affairs Council, London, 2000, available at http://www.espac.org;

 David Hoile, ‘Sudan, Propaganda and Distortion: Allegations of Slavery and Slavery-Related Practices’, The Sudan Foundation, London, March 1997.

63 “Ripping Off Slave ‘Redeemers’: Rebels Exploit Westerners’ Efforts to Buy Emancipation for Sudanese”, ‘The Washington Post’, 26 February 2002.

64 “Scam in Sudan – An Elaborate Hoax Involving Fake African Slaves and Less-than-Honest Interpreters is Duping Concerned Westerners”, ‘The Independent on Sunday’ (London), 24 February 2002

65 “Slave Redemption”, Email message from Rev Cal Bombay to the European-Sudanese Public Affairs Council, 8 April 2002.

66 “The Great Slave Scam”, ‘The Irish Times’, 23 February 2002.

67 “Ripping Off Slave ‘Redeemers'”, ‘The Washington Post’, 26 February 2002.

68 “Ripping Off Slave ‘Redeemers'”, ‘The Washington Post’, 26 February 2002.

69 “The Great Slave Scam”, ‘The Irish Times’, 23 February 2002.

70 “Scam in Sudan – An Elaborate Hoax Involving Fake African Slaves and Less-than-Honest Interpreters is Duping Concerned Westerners”, ‘The Independent on Sunday’ (London), 24 February 2002.

71 Cited by Washington Post media columnist Dick Harwood in ‘Summary of the New York Forum. Session II: Bias, Cynicism, Superficiality and Elitism’, Project for Excellence in Journalism, Committee of Concerned Journalists, Washington-DC, 1997.

72 Christine D. Urban, ‘Examining Our Credibility: Perspectives of the Public and the Press’, A Report for the American Society of Newspaper Editors, 1999.

73 Ibid.

74 Donald Petterson, ‘Inside Sudan: Political Islam, Conflict, and Catastrophe’, Westview Press, Boulder, 1999, pp.42-43

75 See Berta Gomez, “Iran Exports Fundamentalism, Says Resistance”, News Article by USIA, 25 February 1992.

76 “Is Sudan Terrorism’s New Best Friend?”, ‘Time’, 30 August 1993.

77 See, “‘Innocent Sudan’ Exploits Carlos Case”, ‘The Independent’ (London), 23 August 1994.

78 “Saddam’s Sudan”, ‘The New York Times’, 23 March 2000 and “Saddam’s Rogue Alliance”, Editorial, ‘The Washington Times’, 3 April 2000.

79 ‘House of Lords Official Report’, Written Parliamentary Answer, 27 September 2000, column WA 169.

80 “Sudan Trains Terrorism’s New Generation”, ‘The Sunday Telegraph’, 15 May 1994.

81 “Did Saddam pull the strings of the terrorist bombers?”, ‘The Daily Telegraph’, 12 August 1998.

82 David Blair, “Bin Laden Buys Child Slaves for his Drug Farms in Africa”, ‘The Daily Telegraph’, 29 March 1999. This particular story was also carried in other articles, such as “Bin Laden and his Quest for Slaves”, ‘The Chicago Tribune’, 23 January 2002, and “Searching for Slaves in bin Laden’s Attic”, ‘Jewish World Review’, 25 January 2001.

83 ‘House of Lords Official Report’, Written Parliamentary Answer, 5 March 2001, column WA 10.

84 “China Puts ‘700,000 Troops’ on Sudan Alert”, ‘The Sunday Telegraph’ (London), 26 August 2000.

85 ‘House of Lords Official Report’, Written Parliamentary Answer, 5 March 2001, column WA 10.

86 “U.S.: Reports of China’s Role in Sudanese War Are Overstated”, News Article by UPI, 29 August 2000.

The European-Sudanese Public Affairs Council sent this media contribution to Media Monitors Network (MMN)

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