November 29, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) on Tuesday has seized copies of four daily newspapers as civil disobedience enters its last day.
- A Sudanese man reads a local Arabic newspaper in Khartoum on April 27, 2009. (Getty)
At dawn on Tuesday, NISS agents confiscated print runs of Al-Tayyar, Al-Jareeda, Al-Youm Al-Tali and Al-Ayam newspapers from the printing house without stating reasons as usual.
However, workers at the four newspapers believe the seizure comes as a punishment for covering the news of the civil disobedience.
Large segments of the Sudanese people have engaged in a three-day civil disobedience from 27 to 29 November to resist recent government austerity measures.
It is noteworthy that NISS on Monday seized copies of Al-Ayam and Al-Jareeda newspapers. Also, authorities ordered to close down the independent Omdurman TV station on Sunday.
On 6 November, the NISS confiscated copies of Al-Tayyar, Al-Jareeda and Al-Watan newspapers for publishing news reports criticizing the government decision to raise fuel, drug and electricity price.
Chief-Editor of Al-Jareeda Ashraf Abdel-Aziz told the non-governmental Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) network that the NISS confiscated his newspaper for the second day in a row without giving reasons.
“The newspaper was most probably seized for publishing a report on the first page on Sunday discussing the calls for civil disobedience and the participation of the opposition in the nationwide strike,” he said.
He pointed to similar confiscation that occurred in 2013 when the government took a decision to scrap fuel subsides, saying the NISS at the time seized copies of Al-Ayam and Al-Jareeda for three consecutive days.
“During that time, the NISS gave the two newspapers the choice either to shut down or continue publication on condition that they publish news conveyed to them by the government authorities only. Al-Ayam and Al-Jareeda bravely chose to stop publication,” he added.
For its part, Al-Ayam’s administration told JHR that NISS agents came to the printing house on Monday and Tuesday and told the manager that security orders have been issued to seize the print runs of the newspaper without giving details.
The NISS routinely confiscates newspapers either to prevent circulation of certain stories or to punish them retroactively on previous issues.
It accuses the newspapers of crossing the red lines through publishing reports which adversely impact on national security.
In February 2015, NISS seized entire print runs of 14 newspapers in one day without stating the reasons for its decision.