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Three Sudanese newspapers gagged, ‘repression increasing’

November 7 - 2016 KHARTOUM
Headers of the copies of El Tayyar, El Jareeda, and El Watan newspapers confiscated on 6 November 2016 (Sudanese Journalists Network)
Headers of the copies of El Tayyar, El Jareeda, and El Watan newspapers confiscated on 6 November 2016 (Sudanese Journalists Network)

On Sunday, agents of Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) confiscated the print-runs of El Tayyar, El Jareeda, and El Watan newspapers. The Sudanese Journalists Network holds the NISS accountable for most of the press freedom violations in the country.

The editor-in-chief of El Jareeda, Ashraf Abdelaziz, said that the NISS officers confiscated all copies of the three newspapers without providing a reason. He attributed the move to the newspapers’ critical comments on the new economic measures of the government that took effect on Friday, and brought about huge price increases in fuel and electricity.

Osman El Mirghani, Editor-in-chief of El Tayyar told Radio Dabanga that Sunday’s edition of the newspaper contained his article headed “This or the deluge”, in which he severely criticised the government’s failure to solve the economic crisis in the country, and called for alternative measures.

In his editorial in El Watan daily newspaper, Bakri El Madani criticised the National Parliament for not stopping the new economic reform programme. He stated that the new measures reflect the “bankruptcy of the state”, and listed a number of reasons for the failure of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning in solving the current crisis.

Press freedom

The Sudanese Journalists Network also condemned the confiscations on Sunday, and pledged that its members will continue to fight for freedom of speech and the press.

The Network recently reported that the third quarter of 2016 witnessed an increase in press freedom violations, with 42 cases against 38 violations in the second quarter of the year. The NISS was responsible for 90 per cent of the cases.

The violations “vary from confiscations of newspapers, the summoning and detention of journalists, and subjecting them to trials for publishing articles concerning the public interest”.

Between 1 July and 30 September, 14 print-runs of Sudanese newspapers, including the sports journal El Sada, were confiscated in Khartoum. Six journalists were detained, the Network reported.

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