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NISS confiscates newspapers covering Sudan crises

May 8 - 2018 KHARTOUM
The logo of El Jareeda newspaper.
The logo of El Jareeda newspaper.

On Monday morning, the Sudanese security apparatus (NISS) confiscated all 8,500 copies of El Jareeda newspaper from the printing press. It is the second newspaper to be confiscated within 24 hours.

El Jareeda editor in- chief Ashraf Abdelaziz told Radio Dabanga yesterday that members of the security service arrived at 2am on Monday and seized all 8,500 printed copies of the newspaper.

“The confiscation of the copies has caused financial losses which we estimate to be more than SDG40,000 (*$1,421) for not catching up the distribution to our agents.

“One of the most likely reasons for the confiscation,” said Abdelaziz, “is our coverage of the issue of the displacement of about 1,500 people because of fighting in the Jebel Marra in Central Darfur.”

The confiscation came a day after the NISS had confiscated the newspaper Akhbar El Watan, which is owned by the Sudanese Congress Party (SCP), from the printing press on Sunday morning.

Abdelaziz: “We received instructions from the security apparatus not to deal with any issues related to the crises.” The warning also included no coverage of the economic crisis, the fuel crisis, and the rise in food and consumer good prices – “especially the price for sugar.”

The editor-in-chief considered that as an impossible task. “This is difficult in the reality of an editorial room: the newspaper cannot disregard such crises without expressing the concerns and issues of Sudanese people.”

In April, the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) prohibited the press in Sudan to publish any information related to the fuel crisis.

In a directive to the editors-in-chief of newspapers, the NISS instructed them not to cover the crisis, protests, and demonstrations but “to be satisfied with official statements issued by the government on these topics”.

Financial losses

On May 4, the International Day of Press Freedom, Sudanese journalists stressed that the confiscation of newspapers remains a tool of the security service to drain out newspapers’ budgets.

The costs of printing and loss of income from advertisements can amount to – depending on the size of the print-run – SDG 25,000 ($3,750) to SDG 100,000 ($15,000), according to two confiscated newspapers in November 2017.

* Based on the indicative US Dollar rate quoted by the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS)

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