Between 3 May 2014 and 2 May 2015, 66 print-runs of Sudanese newspapers were confiscated by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), the Sudanese Journalists’ Association for Human Rights (JAHR) reported today.
A record number of confiscations took place on 16 February this year, when the freshly printed copies of 14 newspapers were seized on one day. The NISS did not provide any reason.
In its annual report released today (Sunday), coinciding with the World Press Freedom Day, JAHR documented 13 physical assaults on journalists. Nine women journalists were abused by policemen, and 20 by security officers.
Twelve women journalists were questioned by prosecutors of the National Press and Publications Council in Khartoum and Wad Madani, capital of El Gezira state, because of their alleged “crimes against the state of Sudan”, and eighteen were abused by representatives of various state institutions.
In its Freedom of the Press 2015 report, launched in Washington on 29 April, the USA-based Freedom House describes the situation of the media in Sudan as “not free”. The country rates 176, together with Gambia and Venezuela, of the 199 countries listed in the report’s Global Rankings.
The purpose of confiscating print runs is to exhaust the newspapers financially, the editor-in-chief of El Jareeda newspaper commented to Radio Dabanga in July 2014. “It is in fact a direct and methodical liquidation, meant to kill the independent press.”