On Wednesday morning, agents of the National Intelligence and Security Service seized the print runs of El Jareeda, Akhir Lahza, El Tayyar, and El Watan were confiscated without explanation.
This brings the number of newspapers confiscated in a week to nine: El Jareeda and El Tayyar were seized from the printing house on November 23 and El Tayyar, El Jareeda and Akhir Lahza were seized on Tuesday
Press sources suggested that the reason for the confiscation is for covering the two-day visit by President Omar Al Bashir to Russia, and the accompanying statements in reference to his demand for Russian protection and the establishment of Russian military bases on the Red Sea.
“This is the third time this newspaper has been confiscated in a week,” Osman Mirghani, editor-in-chief of El Tayyar told Radio Dabanga. Mirghani has no information about the reasons for the confiscation, but said that the financial losses of his newspaper amount to SDG 100,000 ($15,000) from Wednesday’s confiscation alone.
The editor-in-chief of El Jareeda newspaper said their loss from the confiscation on Tuesday amounts to SDG 25,000 ($3,750).
Yousif Sid Ahmed, the head of the administrative board of El Watan, told Radio Dabanga that the media department of the NISS informed him that the reason for the first confiscation that took place on Sunday was for publication of the statements by Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour on the relations with Iran quoting an interview with Russia Today Channel.
He expressed his surprise at the confiscation of the newspaper on Wednesday for the second time, despite the newspaper’s compliance with the conditions of the security apparatus to publish the full interview and an apology for the publication of statements on Iran despite their validity.
He said that the confiscations have caused the newspapers great material losses.
The Sudanese Journalists Network condemned the repeated confiscations of newspapers and described them as “a journalism massacre”.
On Wednesday the network pointed in a statement to coordination and mobilisation to take steps – it did not elaborate – in consultation with the press base at home and abroad.
“The aim of the confiscations is to make Sudan a complete media dark-zone so that the security services and militias can commit human rights violations away from the eyes of the press” – Journalists for Human Rights
Mohamed El Fateh of the leadership of the Sudanese Journalists Network told Radio Dabanga that there has been a significant decline in press freedom following the lifting of the US sanctions on Sudan.
He pointed out that the confiscations have coincided with the discussion of Press and Publication Act.
He expected the campaign to escalate in the face of press and freedom of expression in the coming period. He called on journalists to stand up to face the current attack on the newspapers.
Journalists for Human Rights
Journalists for Human Rights condemned the repeated security confiscations of newspapers and pointed out that they are contrary to the Constitution and all laws.
Feisal El Bagir the organisation’s general coordinator said in an interview with Radio Dabanga that “The aim of the confiscations is to make Sudan a complete media dark-zone so that the security services and militias can commit human rights violations away from the eyes of the press”.
He called on the press community to unite and form the largest front to confront the security confiscations of newspapers and the violations against freedom of expression and press.
On Wednesday the pro-government general union of Sudanese journalists rejected in a statement the confiscation of the security apparatus of four newspapers and warned of the impact of this escalation on the conditions of freedoms in the light of the international focus on the conditions of press and journalists.
It called on the security apparatus to uphold the laws governing the profession of the press.
Correction 12/1/2017: The headline of this article initially mentioned ten newspapers were confiscated this week. This has been corrected to nine newspapers, although more print-runs were seized on Thursday morning 30 November – see Related News.