The editor-in-chief of Al Jazeera was summoned in Khartoum by the Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) along with a photographer employed by the same news bureau.
Journalists Association for Human Rights (JAHR) noted the crackdown happened just days after the Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir ordered the release of political prisoners in detention centers across the country.
Bashir, during his speech at the inauguration of the seventh session of the National Assembly on Monday, said:
“On the media front and due to our conviction that the media is a vital partner we have allowed various media bodies ample room and high space to increase the coverage of radio and TV broadcasting. Radio FM stations increases and new satellite TV emerged and the number of newspapers increased”.
“We have not banned any pen critical [of government] but only those who took advantage of the freedom for demolition, anarchy and crossing red lines”, he added.
Al Jazeera TV correspondent and editor-in-chief Al-Masalami Kabbashi, and photographer Ali Mustapha were summoned on Wednesday. “They were investigated … from morning to evening with some hours for break and prayers”, Mekki Elmograbi, president of the non-governmental Sudan Press Freedom (SPF) told Sudan Tribune.
In a statement, JAHR also noted that NISS confiscated on 24 March an edition of a daily Khartoum newspaper.
“At the moment [the government] continues to impose … security controls on newspapers on a daily basis, which confirms [it] continues with its hostile approach towards human rights, and freedom of press and expression in Sudan”, the association declared.
Al-Sahafa editor-in-chief forced to resign
Also on Wednesday, NISS forced the editor-in-chief of Al-Sahafa, a daily Khartoum newspaper, to resign his post and ensure his name is removed from the paper’s letterhead. If the orders are not followed, the paper will be confiscated.
The reason behind Al-Nur Ahmed Al-Nur’s forced resignation is not clear. However, Sudan Tribune reported his daily had recently came under enormous pressure in the form of pre-printing censorship and was barred from publishing news reports and articles critical of the ruling National Congress Party or the government.
NISS last year suspended columnist Haidar Al-Makashfi who also works for Al-Sahafa and shut down the independent newspaper al-Tayar, and two Islamist ones called Alwan and al-Rai al-Shaab.
According to a statement published by the Al Midan newspaper in December, NISS had prevented 84 newspaper editions from being published since 3 May 2012.
The Sudan Journalist Association, the unofficial representative of independent journalists in the country, announced last year it had a list of 16 professional journalists who are barred from publishing articles by the security organs.
File photo: Al-Nur Ahmed Al-Nur
Newspaper Khartoum confiscated by Sudan security (28 December 2012)
Al Midan:‘84 newspaper editions prevented from publishing this year’ (5 December 2012)
Newspapers confiscated in Sudan (3 September 2012)