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Print-run of Sudanese El Sayha newspaper confiscated

August 21 - 2017 KHARTOUM
Protesting Sudanese journalists hold a banner saying 'Press freedom or no press' (file photo)
Protesting Sudanese journalists hold a banner saying 'Press freedom or no press' (file photo)

Agents of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) seized the entire print-run of El Sayha newspaper on Sunday morning.

“As usual, a reason was not provided,” the Sudanese Journalists Network (SJNet) said in a press statement on Sunday.

The network further pointed to the repeated summoning of Seifeldin Haroun, eastern Sudan correspondent for El Sayha and El Watan, before the NISS lodged an official complaint against him because of his reporting about bread shortages in Kassala.

Journalist Abdallah El Sheikh has been summoned more than once as well because of a column he wrote on the subject for the Akhir Lahza daily newspaper.

SJNet deplores the attempts of the authorities to gag the press, and calls on “journalists and human rights defenders to unite in order to protect the freedom of expression.

“The network will be the spearhead in the battle. Free press or no press,” the statement concludes.

In July, Maha El Tileb, reporting for El Tayyar, was detained by the NISS for several hours following the publication of an interview with a state minister and director of the President's Office.

The print-runs of newspapers El Jareeda and El Wifag were confiscated in july as well. According to the editor-in-chief of El Jareeda “The reason for the confiscation was a column published in the newspaper entitled ‘Exploitation of Influence’, by employees of the security apparatus.” On 10 July, all copies of El Zawya sports newspaper were taken from the printing press by security officers, because of a report on a debacle between the international football association FIFA and the Sudanese government.

Restrictions

During the past years, the NISS upgraded its already severe restrictions on press freedoms by restoring 'pre-publication censorship' and issuing a number of 'red lines' on matters that are not supposed to be covered by the media.

The purpose of confiscating print-runs is to exhaust the newspapers financially, the editor-in-chief of El Jareeda newspaper earlier explained to Radio Dabanga. “It is in fact a direct and methodical liquidation, meant to kill the independent press,” he said.

The Sudan scores 86 points out of 100 (0=Most Free/100=Least Free) on the list of 201 countries in the Freedom of the Press 2017 report of the USA-based Freedom House.


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