May 20, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) on Tuesday has suspended al-Saiha daily newspaper indefinitely following confiscation of its Tuesday issue from the printing press.
- Al-Tayeb Mustafa, chief of the Just Peace Forum (JPF) party (Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)
The suspension decision was made under the direct orders of NISS’s director, Mohamed Atta Abbas al-Moula.
The decision appears to comes against the background of publishing several stories on corruption cases within government institutions. The famous amongst which was the corruption accusation against the current undersecretary of the justice ministry, Esam al-Din abdel-Gadir.
NISS has conveyed the suspension decision to the newspaper’s editor over the phone without stating reason.
The Sudanese presidency on Monday delivered a firm warning to media outlets on its coverage of certain items that poses a danger to national security and the country as a whole.
The unusual statement carrying a veiled threat noted that "some of the media and press outlets are repeatedly dealing with national security, military affairs and justice issues in a negative and destructive manner that subjects the safety of the nation to harm and weakens its cohesion and crumbles its texture".
"This is considered a breach of the red line that is held by all keen and responsible countries to prevent negligence and breaches of security, safety and national immunity," the presidency statement reads.
"They also handled in a negative and exaggerated [way] people and individuals who are being tried in the media without verifying via documents or evidence which is considered defamatory and an incorrect preemption causing effects that press and media must refrain from its events".
The presidency underscored that it issued this warning with a definite interest to preserve the security of the homeland and the cohesion of its armed and regular forces and the prestige of the judicial organs and the protection of the rights of society members from being taken by suspicions.
Last month, the Sudanese president pledged to enhance press freedom so that it can play its role in the success of the national dialogue unconditionally as long they abide by the norms of the profession.
Al-Saiha was launched recently by the chairman of the Just Peace Forum (JPF) party and President Bashir’s maternal uncle, al-Tayeb Mustafa, after NISS forced him out of his previous newspaper al-Intibaha.
NISS banned Al-Intibaha after JPF spoke out against economic measures announced last September, condemning the bloody repression of anti-austerity protests that broke out following the decision. The paper was allowed to resume operations on the condition that Mustafa step down as chairman.
The JPF, a splinter faction of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), is a radical Islamist and separatist party. During the transitional period of 2005-2011, it campaigned strongly for separation between Sudan and the South.