December 21, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) on Wednesday has seized print runs of Al-Tayyar, Al-Saiha, Al-Ayam and Al-Ahram Al-Youm newspapers without giving reasons.
- A Sudanese man reads a newspaper as he waits to pay at a kiosk in the capital Khartoum (AFP)
Mass confiscation has emerged as a new technique of punishment by the NISS which tend to accuse affected newspapers of crossing the red lines through publishing reports that adversely impact on national security.
NISS has recently intensified crackdown on newspapers for publishing news reports and articles on the recent nationwide civil disobedience actions. Since last month, it seized copies of various dailies 28 times.
On Tuesday, the NISS seized copies of Al-Jareeda newspaper for the ninth time within one month.
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 stating 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.
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.