December 27, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) on Tuesday has seized copies of Al-Jareeda and Akhir Lahza newspaper from the printing house without giving reasons.
- A Sudanese man reads a local Arabic newspaper in Khartoum on April 27, 2009. (Getty)
Al-Jareeda has been one of the most newspapers in Sudan subject to suspension and confiscation. It has been seized ten times within the last four weeks.
Journalists working for Akhir Lahza told Sudan Tribune that the newspaper was likely confiscated for publishing a column by Abdalla al-Shiekh in which he discussed recent differences within the ruling National Congress Party (NCP).
It is noteworthy that Akhir Lahza newspaper is owned by the prominent member of the NCP and former governor of South Darfur state al-Hag Atta al-Manan.
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 30 times.
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.
Earlier this month, Al-Jareeda launched a campaign entitled the “Prudent Reader” to enable each reader to donate price of one seized copy in order to support the newspaper and compensate for the loss caused by the repeated confiscations.
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.
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.