Sudan security seizes print-runs of ten newspapers, suspends four
Agents of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) halted the distribution of ten newspapers today. Four newspapers were suspended indefinitely.
All copies of El Sudani, El Jareeda, El Khartoum, Akhir Lahza, El Intibaha, El Ray El Aam, Alwan, El Tayar, and El Youm El Tali, and El Akhbar were confiscated at the printing presses in Khartoum this (Monday) morning.
Editors think that the newspapers’ reporting about sexual harassment and rapes on buses transporting students to the universities may have been the reason.
Security officers told the editors-in-chief of El Jareeda, El Khartoum, Akhir Lahza and El Intibaha that their newspapers were suspended indefinitely.
Ashraf Abdelaziz, editor-in-chief of El Jareeda, confirmed to Radio Dabanga that the 6,000 copies of his newspaper were confiscated this early morning. “Later we received a telephone call from an officer of the NISS Media Department, who told us that the newspaper was suspended for an indefinite period of time.”
He strongly condemned the confiscations, stressing that “if the NISS wants to reprimand a newspaper, it should be done through the competent channels, according to the law.
“The NISS intends to exhaust the newspapers financially in this way,” he added, “as we still have to pay the staff and the printing press. The suspensions will certainly lead to the dismissal of a number of journalists.”
The Sudanese Journalists Network (SJN) and the Sudanese Journalists’ Association for Human Rights (JAHR) strongly denounced the confiscations and suspensions by the NISS in separate statements today.
SJN called for a “strong action against this vicious attack, whether by sit-ins or by strikes”. JAHR considered the confiscation of the print-runs today “a continuation of the systematic security campaign against the freedom of the press, publication, and expression”.
Feisal El Bagir, general coordinator of JAHR, repeated to Radio Dabanga the motto of his organisation, which calls for “the continuation of resistance in various forms, until everyone in the country is able to express their opinion freely”. He added that this can only be achieved through a “democratic system of governance that ensures the rights of all”.
In its Freedom of the Press 2015 report, launched on 29 April, the USA-based Freedom House described the situation of the media in Sudan as “not free”. The country rates 176, together with Gambia and Venezuela, of the 199 countries listed in the report’s Global Rankings.
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