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Sudan security confiscates three newspapers

January 12 - 2018 KHARTOUM
A banner of El Midan newspaper (file photo)
A banner of El Midan newspaper (file photo)

Following earlier confiscations of newspaper print-runs, the Sudanese security apparatus seized three newspapers on Thursday because of their coverage of the numerous protests against the increased prices in Sudan.

A total of eleven newspapers have been seized this week. The confiscations on Thursday affected the entire publication of El Tayyar, El Midan and Akhbar El Watan, which had also been affacted by the earlier confiscations.

Kamal Karrar, a journalist at El Midan, told Radio Dabanga that the National Intelligence and Security Service again did not officially provide any reason for the confiscation.

Karrar assumed it has to do with the newspaper’s reporting on the demonstrations in Sudanese cities and towns against the recent hikes in prices for bread and other basic goods. “El Midan stands with the demonstrators.

“But the confiscations are aimed at trying to silence the other opinion and undermining the voice of the protesters.” El Midan is the newspaper of the opposition’s Communist Party, which would file a lawsuit against the NISS, according to Karrar.

Osman Mirghani, the editor-in-chief of El Tayyar told Radio Dabanga that the daily was confiscated without any explanation provided.

“The authorities are used to confiscate newspapers from time to time whenever there are interactions with important issues. But there are no definite provisions that refer to the ‘red lines’ that could be determined and used to confiscate newspapers.”

The seizing of entire print-runs could lead to major financial losses for newspapers, amounting to more than SDG 100,000 ($14,190) a day, Mirghani explained.

Press freedom

The Sudanese National Consensus Forces (NCF), an umbrella of opposition parties, has condemned the confiscations. In a press statement the NCF released yesterday, it said that the attack on the freedom of press is “unjustified”.

“The attack on the press is accompanied by arrests of leaders, members of the opposition, a number of civilians, students and activists. These are violations of the public freedoms guaranteed by the Sudanese Constitution.”

The international press freedom advocate Reporters Without Borders also condemned the confiscations by the NISS this week.

Clerical body supports protests

In an unprecedented move against its government, Sudan’s main clerical authority called on the Sudanese government to grant the absolute right to protest peacefully against its recent decision to increase bread prices.

Yesterday the Sudan Scholar Corporation (SSC) issued a statement saying the government had the responsibility to provide food to its citizens particularly in the time of distress and trouble.

It said that the people have the right to express its rejection of price increases, stressing that the right to demonstrate “is guaranteed under the Constitution and the law, and cannot be denied”.

The government decided to raise the customs rate of the Dollar from SDG 6.7 to SDG 18 in end December, with the purpose to halt the steadily increasing hard currency rate at the black market. After the measure came into effect in the first week of January, the already soaring prices of the main consumer goods went up by 200 or even 300 per cent.

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