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Intelligence agency steps up offensive against Khartoum press

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Reporters Without Borders

5 April 2013

SUDAN

Intelligence agency steps up offensive against Khartoum press}}}

Reporters Without Borders is appalled to learn that Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) ordered Al Nour Mohamed Al Nour’s suspension as editor-in-chief of the independent Arabic-language daily Al Sahafa on 3 April.

At the same time, the NISS harassed Al Jazeera’s Khartoum correspondent, accusing him of unbalanced coverage and reporting “false information.”

“There is this incredible situation in Sudan in which the intelligence services decide how the media are run and who they appoint,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Totally opposed to freedom of information, they call all the shots, censor articles, confiscate newspapers and harass journalists.

“President Omar al-Bashir has made some conciliatory gestures in recent days, including an amnesty announcement, the release of some political prisoners and an invitation to the opposition to participate in negotiations about a new constitution, but we have seen no improvement in freedom of information. On the contrary, repressive policies towards the media have been intensified.”

Al Sahafa’s management lost no time in complying with the order to suspend Nour as editor-in-chief and his name had already disappeared from the newspaper’s masthead in yesterday’s issue.

Agence France-Presse quoted Nour as saying his removal may have been linked to disagreements about the censorship imposed by the security services.

Al Jazeera correspondent Almosalami Alkabbakhi was meanwhile summoned to NISS headquarters on 3 and 4 April and was questioned for nine hours. He has been ordered to report for further questioning tomorrow.

On 24 March, the NISS confiscated all copies of the Arabic-language daily Al-Khartoum. At the end of January, the NISS seized 14,000 copies of the Arabic-language daily Al-Sudani (http://en.rsf.org/sudan-intelligence-service-seizes-arab-24-01-2013,43951.html).

Ranked 170th out of 179 countries in the 2013 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index, Sudan is rightly classified among the world’s ten worst countries as regards respect for freedom of information (http://en.rsf.org/press-freedom-index-2013,1054.html).

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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