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Publishers protest Sudan newspaper seizures

December 4 - 2017 KHARTOUM
Newspaper kiosk in Khartoum (SUNA)
Newspaper kiosk in Khartoum (SUNA)

The publishers of newspapers subjected to repeated confiscations by Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) on Sunday handed protest memoranda to Sudanese Presidency represented by the Cabinet, the Parliament media committee, the press and publications council, the general union of Sudanese Journalists and the media department of the NISS.

The memoranda demanded an immediate halt to the confiscation and inquired about the reasons for the confiscations.

A fierce campaign of newspaper confiscations by the NISS for the past week. On Friday the security apparatus confiscated the print runs of El TayyarEl Jareeda, and Akhir Lahza from the presses without explanation.

The latest confiscations bring the number of newspapers seized in one week to 16 - on Thursday morningEl TayyarEl JareedaEl Watan and Akhir Lahza were also seized, while all four already witnessed confiscations of their print-runs earlier this week.

After handing over a memorandum to the head of the parliamentary information committee, El Tayeb Mustafa, El Tayyar editor-in-chief, Osman Merghani, said that the successive confiscations cost each newspaper more than SDG 100,000 ($15,000) a day, but he considered that the biggest loss is the readers’ lack of access to newspapers.

He said that El Tayyar, Akhir Lahza, El Jareeda and El Watan newspapers put the organs of the press before their responsibility towards the position of confiscation. He stressed that the institutions concerned, including the NISS have acknowledged that they have no information on the reasons for confiscation. “The situation as dangerous affecting freedom of expression and the press as a whole”.

Ashraf Abdelaziz, the editor-in-chief of El Jareeda newspaper said “the grip of security and its law are the highest in Sudan now”.

He said that the memoranda they submitted called for an immediate stop of the confiscations and clarification of their reasons.” He said in the event these confiscations persist, “there will be other resistance steps”, but he did not elaborate.

“All journalists have unanimously rejected this infringement on freedom of the press as such a broad solidarity among journalists has happened for the first time” - Ashraf Abdelaziz

He stressed that “all journalists have unanimously rejected this infringement on freedom of the press as such a broad solidarity among journalists has happened for the first time”.

Journalists’ Union

He said “For the first time, the Journalists' Union issued a clear statement rejecting the confiscation of newspapers by the security services”.

He ruled out that the confiscations have something to do with the new changes in Sudanese foreign policy after President Al Bashir's visit to Russia. He also ruled out the confiscations having to do with the arrest of Musa Hilal last week.

He explained that the government considered the arrest of Musa Hilal a victory for itself and had no problem with the news.

He explained that the government cannot go ahead with the policy of repression and promotion of inclusiveness because it would incite the international community.


On Sunday in a first-of-its-kind precedent, MP Mahmoud Abdeljabbar filed a request to summon the director of the security and intelligence apparatus, General Mohamed Atta, to a special committee on the implementation of repeated confiscations against a number of daily newspapers, the justifications on which the security apparatus relied on the implementation of the confiscation campaign and whether they are compatible with the laws and the Constitution, this as well as clarifying why the security apparatus does not leave the process of organising the work of the press to the Press and Publications Council, the Prosecution and Judiciary Authority.

The Popular Congress Party considered the confiscation of the newspapers as a flagrant violation of freedoms and called for the suspension of what it called tampering with freedom of the press.

On Sunday in a statement, the party called on the Prime Minister to address his historic responsibilities to stop the confiscation of newspapers.



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