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Suspended columnist: ‘I stick to my critical views against Sudan’

September 29 - 2017 KHARTOUM
Akhir Lahza newspaper
Akhir Lahza newspaper

The critical writer Abdallah El Sheikh of the Akhir Lahza daily newspaper is forced to stop writing after a directive by the Sudanese security apparatus.

The National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) forced Akhir Lahza to suspend the activities of the columnist because of his critical articles on the Sudanese government.

El Sheikh said in an interview with Radio Dabanga: “I will stick to my views in my critical articles on the government. These express the opinion of a broad sector of the Sudanese people.

“My role as a citizen forced me to defend the country. I am willing to pay for this position,” he said. Akhir Lahza informed El Sheikh to stop writing his columns five days ago.

Earlier this month Sudan’s National Council for Press and Publications suspended Akhir Lahza daily for three days in a row. Cabinet Minister Ahmed Saad Omar had filed a complaint to the Press Council against columnist El Sheikh and one of his articles.

Sources in the media in Khartoum and Akhir Lahza told this station that the NISS persuaded the newspaper to suspend El Sheikh in return for more advertisements. The NISS can put pressure on advertisers and private companies to block advertisements with certain newspapers that have a critical editorial line, the sources said.

NISS has been banning writers and journalists from writing because of their critical views. The list of banned individuals includes Zuhair El Sarraj, Osman Shabuna, and others.

El Sarraj and Shabuna wrote for El Jareeda newspaper. In December 2016, the NISS demanded the newspaper to get rid of the two writers and confiscated the printed copies from the presses for several days.

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