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Sudanese security seizes Al-Jareeda newspaper for the eighth time

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Sudanese men look at newspapers displayed at a kiosk in the capital Khartoum on February 16, 2015. (AFP Photo)
December 16, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) on Friday has seized print runs of the independent daily Al-Jareeda for the eighth time within three weeks without giving reasons.

Chief-Editor of Al-Jareeda Ashraf Abdel-Aziz told Sudan Tribune that the NISS agents confiscated copies of the newspaper on Friday morning while it was on its way to the distribution outlets.

He pointed that the daily has received some financial contribution from readers abroad, saying they paid six-month subscription fees in advance to support the newspaper and compensate for the loss caused by the repeated confiscations.

Last week, Al-Jareeda launched a campaign entitled the “Prudent Reader” to enable each reader to donate price of one seized copy.

Al-Jareeda also said it would take legal action against the NISS due to repeated seizure of its copies during the last two weeks.

NISS has recently intensified crackdown on newspapers for publishing news reports and articles on the nationwide civil disobedience act which took place between 27 and 29 November. During the last couple of weeks, it seized copies of various dailies 22 times.

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.

Journalists working for the newspaper had earlier told Sudan Tribune that the NISS seeks to put pressure on Al-Jareeda to change its editorial policy and mitigate 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.

Sudanese newspapers complain of the far reaching powers of the NISS which routinely punishes dailies through confiscation or suspension.

Following the lift of pre-publication censorship, the NISS started punishing newspapers retroactively by seizing copies of newspapers that breach unwritten red lines inflicting financial and moral losses on these media houses.

In February 2015, it seized copies of 14 newspapers from printing press without giving reasons.

Journalists say that NISS 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.

(ST)

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