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Two newspapers seized following NISS meeting

August 28 - 2018 KHARTOUM
(file photo)
(file photo)

The Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) confiscated all copies of El Jareeda and El Tayyar newspapers on Monday morning. The move comes days after discussions between the newspapers and Sudan’s security apparatus.

The security service did not provide an explanation for the confiscation of the two titles. Editor-in-chief of El Jareeda newspaper, Ashraf Abdelaziz said: “The confiscation is the 10th one in August and they have resulted in great losses for the newspaper.”

Abdelaziz pointed out that the confiscations happened in spite of a “positive atmosphere” that prevailed during a meeting between the Sudanese National Assembly and heads of newspapers last week. The meeting was held ahead of Eid El Adha, in order to create a charter of honour for the press that would be signed by the concerned parties.

“We have not received any contact or support about this from the Press and Publications Council or the Journalists’ Union until the moment of writing the news,” Abdelaziz said following the confiscation.

“We will try to issue the newspaper as usual on Tuesday and contact the security service to find out the cause of the confiscation.”

The National Assembly is the body that passed the National Security Act (NSA) that expanded the powers of the NISS to arrest and detain people and confiscate news outlets without judicial oversight.

In June, journalists decried the draft Press and Publications Act which the Cabinet approved. It provides for the suspension of journalists from writing and the expansion of powers of the Press and Publications Council.

Red lines’

Earlier in August, newspapers and the head of the NISS agreed to form a committee to deliberate on the so-called red lines for Sudanese media. New confiscations of newspapers were temporarily suspended, while the work of the joint committee was pending.The security service did not say until when the temporary suspension is active.

In the preceding week the distribution of El Jareeda newspaper was purposely delayed by the NISS for six days in a row because of its critical content. It was the third time El Jareeda suffered from press curbs by the Sudanese security service in two weeks’ time: it blocked the newspaper from reaching the distribution outlets in Khartoum and the states.

Media in Sudan are constantly subjected to attacks on press freedom. The country is ranked at the bottom of the World Press Freedom Index by the global monitoring organisation Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

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