Sudanese Govt Rejects U.S. Accusations On Curbing Internet Freedoms
The US government has designated north Sudan as one of the countries which impose restrictions on access to the internet and monitor e-mail communication. In its 21 country reports on human rights practices, the U.S department of state singled out Sudan as one of the countries where human rights abuses were "especially serious," recounting details of numerous human rights violations committed nationwide by the country's government.
It also said that the country's national telecommunication cooperation, which is mandated to oversee internet content, blocked some websites which are deemed offensive to public morality, including regular blocking of the video-sharing website Youtube during April's elections and the Sudan vote monitor website.
The report also accused the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), the country's official security authority, of reading e-mail messages between private citizens.
But Sudan's foreign ministry rejected the report saying that Washington is the one violating the rights of the Sudanese people by blocking access to advance telecommunication technologies and access to some information on the web.
The ministry's spokesperson Khalid Moussa noted statements by former U.S. special envoy Scott Gration in which he criticized the sanctions as excessive. He stressed that even Sudanese opposition use Facebook for mobilizing demonstrations without restrictions by the government or any other party.
Last year the U.S administration eased internet sanctions on Sudan which is still under comprehensive U.S economic sanctions in connection to allegations of sponsoring terrorism and the atrocities committed in the western region of Darfur.
US technology firms are now be allowed to export online services such as instant messaging and social networks. In 2009 software giant Microsoft barred users in five countries, including Iran, Cuba and Sudan, from using instant messaging services. People trying to use the service received an error message.