December 10, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) on Saturday has seized copies of Al-Jareeda newspaper for the seventh time within thirteen days from the printing house without giving reasons.
- Sudanese newspaper vendors talk to each other at a bus station in Khartoum, Sudan (AP)
Al-Jareeda has been one of the most newspapers in Sudan subject to suspension and confiscation. Last May, the NISS had confiscated copies of the newspaper four times during five days.
In a short statement posted on its Facebook page, the independent daily announced it would hold a press conference on Monday to discuss the repeated confiscations and launch a campaign entitled the “Prudent Reader” to support the newspaper financially.
It pointed that the campaign comes in response to continued demands by its readers to participate in the struggle to restore press freedoms, saying the main goal of the campaign is to enable each reader to donate price of one seized copy.
“This campaign would send a strong message to the NISS to respect freedom of opinion and expression and to resort to the law and it also seeks to establish free and independent press” read the statement
The NISS routinely confiscates newspapers either to prevent circulation of certain stories or to punish them retroactively on previous issues.
It uses seizures of print copies of newspapers, not only to censor the media but also to weaken them economically.
Last July, Al-Taghyeer newspaper decided to suspend publishing and laid off its staff following large financial loss incurred due to repeated confiscations.
The statement further pointed that the seized paper copy of the newspaper is available on its website and the Facebook.
Journalists working for Al-Jareeda told Sudan Tribune on Friday that the NISS seeks to put pressure on the newspaper to mitigate the harsh criticism of the government contained in the Op-ed articles and in particular by columnists Osman Shabona and Mohamed Wida’aa.
However, the newspaper’s administration refuses to succumb to the NISS’s pressures and rejects the idea of dismissing any journalists or columnists.
Sudan’s constitution guarantees freedom of expression but laws subordinate to the constitution such as the National Security Forces Act of 2010 contains articles that can be potentially used to curtail press freedom and instigate legal proceedings against newspapers and individual journalists.
The state-run Sudanese National Council for Press and Publications (NCPP) rarely interferes to stop the security punishments although it is the official body responsible for running the work of newspapers in the Sudan.