Print-runs of El Jareeda daily newspaper have been seized for the third time this week by the Sudanese security service for ignoring a reporting ban. In related events an intern journalist has been detained for covering the recent student protests in Khartoum.
The newspaper's editor-in-chief, Ashraf Abdel Aziz, believes that the newspaper's coverage of the students' protests at a number of universities led to another confiscation of printed copies in Khartoum on Thursday.
The Sudanese security service (NISS) aims to keep the protests out of the news in Sudan. Print-runs of El Jareeda were also seized on Tuesday and Monday.
A journalist covering the student protests at Khartoum University was detained by the NISS on 13 April and has remained at their offices for nearly a month, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said.
Security agents detained Ahmed Zuheir Daoud, an intern of El Midan newspaper, while he was reporting for the paper. Editor-in-chief Iman Othman Ali said that he carried a press identification card at the time.
CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, Sherif Mansour, said: “Sudanese authorities should immediately release Daoud and allow all journalists to report freely in Sudan.”
“The newspaper is financially affected by the repeated confiscations.”
El Jareeda struggles
El Jareeda editor-in-chief Aziz said in a statement on Thursday that a member of the security service arrived at the printing press at 1.30am, after printing was completed, with the directive to confiscate the copies. He did not give any reasons for the confiscation.
“The confiscation likely happened because of El Jareeda’s coverage of the recent student protests at a number of universities. The repeated confiscation will economically affect the newspaper,” Aziz said.
Newspapers suffer from the financial losses caused by the confiscations of print-runs, as they still have to pay their staff and the printing presses. In addition, El Jareeda is deprived of any income from advertising for the government.
Aziz said that the forthcoming meeting of the council of the newspaper’s management “will determine the next steps to face the repeated confiscation”, without ruling out that the journalists will resort to strike.
In reaction to the latest events, the Sudanese Journalists Network has denounced the widening of the confiscation of newspapers and the increased 'red lines' for newspapers, along with the dismissal of jounalists.
Newspapers have been instructed not to cross the red lines set by the NISS. Recently included are the protests at universities in Khartoum, Omdurman, and Port Sudan, and a report published by the public board of grievances this week, revealing financial corruption by Ministry officials.
The student protests in Khartoum were over plans announced by the Ministry of Tourism to convert some of the university's buildings to tourist attractions. Government officials denied that the university would be moved, however, students demonstrated en masse against the plans.
Dozens were detained in clashes with security forces. One of the detainees is El Midan journalist Daoud.