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Sudanese Security continues crackdown on press, journalists strike

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Sudanese men look at newspapers displayed at a kiosk in the capital Khartoum on February 16, 2015. (AFP Photo)
December 01, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) on Thursday has continued its mass confiscation of newspapers print-runs for the successive fourth day, which coincided with the call for civil disobedience.

On Wednesday, two dailies went on strike and did come out in protest against NISS crackdown on newspapers.

Mass confiscation has emerged as a new technique of punishment by the NISS which tends to accuse the press of disseminating news that adversely impact on national security.

On Thursday morning, NISS has confiscated the print-runs of Al-Tayyar, Al-Youm Al-Tali and Al-Watan for the third successive day without any explanation.

Speaking to Sudan Tribune, the publisher of Al-Tayyar newspaper, Osman Mirghani, said NISS had informed him that his newspaper could come out on Friday, stressing that this is the first time that NISS assures him the newspaper will not be confiscated.

“Al-Tayyar newspaper has lost 300,000 SGD (around $15.700) due to NISS repeated confiscations for three days, in addition to the loss of advertisements.

On Thursday, Al-Jareeda and Al-Mydan newspapers did not print Thursday’s edition in solidarity with a strike announced by the independent Sudanese Journalists Network (SJN) to protest against the repeated violation of press freedom and mass confiscations of newspapers.

Sudanese authorities have intensified their crackdown on newspapers for its coverage of the three-day civil disobedience organized by Sudanese activists from 27 to 29 November. NISS has confiscated the print-runs of Al-Jreeda and Al-Ayam for three successive days.

In statement extended to Sudan Tribune, the independent Journalists for Human Rights Network (JHR) denounced the "massacre of press" carried out by the security apparatus and the lack of freedom of expression in the country and pointed to the abusive confiscation of the newspapers without explanation .

Also, the pro-government Sudanese Journalists Union (SJU) regretted confiscating newspapers print-runs, and called on the "parties to go to court to resolve their conflict.

“Sudanese Journalists Union is in contacts with the relevant authorities to reach an agreement ending newspapers print-runs confiscations and to respect law prevalence,” said SJU in statement extended to Sudan Tribune.

SJU went to say that there are arrangements to organize a meeting between editors-in-chief, publishers and relevant authorities to end the current tension and reach an agreement to enhance freedom of press.

Following the lift of pre-publication censorship, the NISS opted to punish newspapers retroactively by seizing print copies of newspapers that breach unwritten red lines related to national security.

The measure inflicts financial and moral losses on the media houses. Journalists say that NISS uses seizures of of newspapers, not only to censor the media but also to weaken them economically.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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