Widely regarded as the ‘Dean of Sudanese Journalism’,  Mahjoub Mohamed Saleh co-founded and became editor-in-chief of Sudan’s oldest independent newspaper, Al-Ayyam, in 1953. 

A progressive daily, it was also the first paper produced using modern printing technology.

Saleh also published the English-language newspaper Sudan Times, in partnership with South Sudanese writer and politician Bona Malwal.

In 2005, WAN-IFRA awarded Saleh with the Golden Pen of Freedom, recognising it as a “Lifetime Achievement award” given his “long, illustrious career”.

“Given the conditions under which he works, Mr Saleh’s contributions to the Sudanese independent press are nothing short of remarkable,” George Brock, then President of the World Editors Forum, said at the presentation. 

Sudan has been mired in conflict since independence. Africa’s longest-running civil conflict is today, still ongoing

‘During my over half a century of working in this profession, I have experienced all types of constraints and harassments, including censorship, confiscation, banning, closure, nationalisation, intimidation and imprisonment. Nothing kept us going except commitment to the profession and dedicated loyalty to its ideas.’
– Mahjoub Mohammed Saleh, on receiving the Golden Pen of Freedom

 A pioneer for press freedom

Saleh was born in 1928 in Khartoum, and became a journalist in 1949, when Sudan was an Anglo-Egyptian colony; the country gained independence in 1956.

He furthered his studies at Khartoum University College in 1947, and served as Secretary of the Student Union.

A prominent political activist, he joined the Sudanese National Liberation Movement (Beshadtu) at the end of 1946, through which he carried out his political activity.

Saleh also became a prominent national figure, with various leadership positions in the Union of Arab Journalists and the Union of African Journalists. He also received the Human Rights Award from the European Union.

Saleh wrote several books, notably The History of Sudanese Journalism in Half a Century, Highlights on the Southern Issue, The Sudanese Press, Highlights on the South Sudan Issue and The Future of Democracy in Sudan.

See Also: Golden Pen of Freedom 2005 Awarded to Sudan Journalist Mahjoub Mohamed Salih

Despite restricted internet and ongoing strife, tributes pour in

While internet and communications activity in war-torn Sudan is currently severely restricted, tributes came through various social media platforms.

Journalists from across the continent took to social media to pay tribute to the ‘great father of Sudanese journalism’. 

“Sudanese journalists yesterday lost the oldest, the great father of all journalists in Sudan … It’s really a great loss for us in Sudan also In this critical time,” Durra Mohammed Mukhta, from Khartoum Media in Sudan, and a member of The African Editors Forum, posted on a WhatsApp group.


بمزيد من الحزن و الأسى ينعي منبر المغردين السودانيين

الأستاذ محجوب محمد صالح الذي فاضت روحه بالقاهرة اليوم لنفقد علما وقلما شجاعا و ذاكرة ثرية بتاريخ الصحافة والثقافة والإعلام

ونتقدم بالتعازي لجموع الشعب السوداني ولأسرته الكريمة وزملائه وتلاميذه

وانا لله وانا اليه راجعون pic.twitter.com/o1XvJAu4Ky

— منبر المغردين السودانيين (@SUDTwittForum) February 13, 2024

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