Mahjoub Mohamed Salih

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Mahjoub Mohamed Salih (born 1928/1929) is a journalist from Sudan, which the World Association of Newspapers calls "one of the most restrictive media environments on the African continent".[1] He was awarded the 2005 Golden Pen of Freedom.


Salih became a journalist in 1949 after joining the Sudanese independence movement from Egypt.[2] He founded the oldest independent newspaper in Sudan, Al Ayam, in 1958.[1] Twice closed by the Sudanese government during the 1960s, it became a product of it in 1970.[1] Salih did not publish it again until 1986.[1] This was not the end of his troubles with the law, as it was again closed from 1989 to 2000.[1]

In 2003, he began covering the War in Darfur.[2] For this, his newspaper were stopped, punished,[2] and from November 2003 to January 2004, closed down.[1] However, Sudanese authorities claimed it was due to Al-Ayem's failure to pay their taxes.[3] In any case, its journalists have be fined, and sensitive or controversial issues have been confiscated by Sudanese authorities.[1] Salih personally has been incarcerated "numerous" times for publishing such issues.[1]

He received Golden Pen of Freedom in 2005, during the opening ceremonies of the 58th World Newspaper Congress and the 12th World Editors Forum, the global meetings of the Earth's press.[1] It has been awarded annually since 1961 for the stated purpose of "recognis[ing] outstanding action by an individual, a group or an institution in the cause of press freedom."[1] In attendance of the ceremony were the President of South Korea, Roh Moo-Hyun, several representatives from the diplomatic community, and over 1,300 journalists, publishers, and editors of newspapers in 82 countries.[1]

In July 2005, Sudanese authorities suspended their censorship of the press.[4] A new law was put into place requiring that they have to take the journalist to court, instead of immediately punishing them.[4] Salih became the application of that law, after Al-Ayam published an article seen as demeaning to the armed forces.[4]