Agents of Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) seized the print run of El Jareeda newspaper from the presses on Tuesday, without giving any reasons.
The seizure of more than 10,000 copies of El Jareeda comes just one day after a similar seizure of El Sayha.
Ashraf Abdelaziz, the editor of El Jareeda told Radio Dabanga that “the confiscation of the newspaper is a setback and a great embarrassment for the government, as well as participants in the national ‘El Wathba’ dialogue.
“The government should at this time expand the margin of freedom and provide a real atmosphere in which newspapers can work to enhance the value of dialogue,” he said.
The Sudanese Journalists Network described the confiscation of the two newspapers as a reflection of the regime’s fear of freedom of speech.
In a statement today, the Network asserts that “the regime’s violent escalation of the campaign against the press confirms the falseness of the dialogue process”.
The Network called on journalists “to sustain the pressure and resistance to recover the rights of the people from a regime which does not honour the role of the press and freedom of speech”.
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 explained in an earlier interview with Radio Dabanga. “It is in fact a direct and methodical liquidation, meant to kill the independent press,” he said.
Sudan rates 176, together with Gambia and Venezuela, of the 199 countries listed in the Freedom of the Press 2015 report of the USA-based Freedom House.