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Newspapers covering Sudan peace talks seized

August 16 - 2016 KHARTOUM
(file photo)
(file photo)

The publication of interviews with the leaders of the armed movements who held negotiations with the Sudanese government led to the confiscation of three newspapers on Monday. The security authorities have told journalists to not to publish any reports about the subject.

Agents of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) in Khartoum confiscated the print runs of El Mijhar El Siyasi, El Ihram El Youm, and El Sayha right from the printing press. The newspapers received instructions from the NISS to stop the publication of any interviews or reports from Addis Ababa, where the negotiations are held, according to several journalists.

“The security apparatus is constantly specialising in the confiscation of newspapers,” said journalist Hassan Barkiya, member of the Sudanese Journalists Network. The Network immediately condemned the confiscation of the three newspapers.

“It is an infringement and a clear violation against all the press regulations and laws.” Barkiya explained that the confiscation affects even the newspapers that are in line with the government, without the knowledge of the National Press and Publication Council and the general union of journalists.

“This is an apparent move to impoverish the newspapers and journalists, especially those going through financial hardship. I expect the coming period will witness more prosecutions, confiscations and summons for newspapers and journalists in Sudan.”

This warning was made in particular after it was announced that the negotiations reached an impasse on Sunday. ​

The National Press and Publication Council was surprised to find about the security service's confiscation

An official from the Press and Publications Council told Radio Dabanga that the council was surprised to hear about the confiscation of El Mijhar El Siyasi, El Ahram El Youm, and El Sayha. “The press council […] has nothing to do with that confiscation, which happened without its knowledge.”

El Sayha print runs were seized on 27 July for the publication of certain opinion articles.

The council did suspend four newspapers, including El Watan, Awal El Nahar, El Mustagilla and Elaph as of Monday. The move was justified in a press statement by the council, stating that the four newspapers “breached the terms” of the press and publication regulations.

The press council official told this station that the newspapers “have to adjust their position”.

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