In an attempt to show his softer side, Sudan president Omar al-Bashir has lifted media restrictions as the first elections in nearly 25 years loom on the horizon. From Al Jazeera:

In a decree carried by the official Suna news agency on Sunday, al-Bashir put an end to "pre-censorship", the system where newspapers are screened by state censors before being available to the public.

"We had a meeting with President al-Bashir. He ordered a stop to censorship from today," Ali Shomo, the chairman of Sudan's national press council, the state regulator, said.

Editors gave the announcement a cautious welcome, but some said they would still face pressure over sensitive stories.

Sudan's Ajras al-Huriya newspaper, which is linked to the former southern Sudan People's Liberation Movement, warned that journalists would still face pressure when writing about Darfur and other highly charged topics.

"There is no way they [the security services] are going to tolerate anything about security, about the International Criminal Court," said Faisal Silaik, the paper's deputy editor-in-chief.


Get the full scoop here.

Is homie hoping the "free" media will overlook his alleged crimes against humanity? *al-Bashir sits in presidential palace, crossing fingers*


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