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Sudan press harassment: El Tayyar newspaper held for ninth consecutive day

March 15 - 2018 KHARTOUM
File photo: Getty
File photo: Getty

Agents of the Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) held the print run of Sudan’s El Tayyar newspaper on Wednesday, only releasing the edition for distribution after 6am.

This is the ninth consecutive day that the NISS has delayed distribution of the newspaper, which prevents it from being distributed from the printing works in Khartoum to the rest of Sudan.

This results in heavy financial losses to the newspaper, and deprives the public of free access to the print media.

On Monday afternoon El Tayyar Editor-In-Chief Osman Merghani told a press conference at the newspaper's headquarters in Khartoum that his newspaper is to file a constitutional complaint against Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) for disrupting the daily distribution of the newspaper for a week, which has harmed the distribution of the newspaper and the readers’ access to it.

Also on Monday, the Sudanese Journalists Network said that this new method has been applied to El Tayyar newspaper for a week and is ongoing.

The network described in its statement what happened as “a punishment similar to the past practices of confiscation after printing,” but this time, according to the network, “the security apparatus is using the method of circumvention to evade its illegal and moral practices by showing that it is not directly involved in the confiscation and the assumption of responsibility in the lack of access to the market, in return, is for the printing press and distribution management.”

In its statement, the network described this act as “a new repressive approach the aim of which is to inflict financial losses on newspapers.”

Distribution drop

On Tuesday, the annual report of verification and publication, issued by the Press and Publications Council, explained that there has been a drop in the distribution of Sudanese newspapers to 28 per cent for the year 2017, compared to 32 per cent in 2016.

According to the report, newspapers that distribute less than 2,000 copies a day are equivalent to 58 per cent of the total number of 45 Sudanese newspapers, 29 of which are political, 10 are sports, and six are social.

Abdelazim Awad, the secretary-general of the Council, told a press conference that, despite the drop in their distribution of the Sudanese newspapers, they still have a significant influence.

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