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Sudanese journalists protest repeated confiscation of Al-Jareeda newspaper

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Journalists participate in a sit-in outside the the National Council for Press and Publications headquarters in Khartoum to protest the repeated seizure of Al-Jareeda on 29 Dec 2016 (ST Photo)
December 29, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese journalists on Thursday organised a sit-in outside the National Council for Press and Publications (NCPP) premises to protest the repeated seizure of the print-runs of Al-Jareeda newspaper by the security service.

The protesting journalists handed over a memorandum to the NCPP complaining against the increasing violation of press freedom in the country. Also in a statement released on the same day, the Sudanese Journalists Network (SJN) which organised the sit-in denounced the aggressive censorship against the independent daily.

"We would not let our colleagues fighting alone the battle for freedom and dignity against the dictatorship and repression," said the SJN.

Al-Jareeda has been confiscated by the National Intelligence and Security Services eleven times during this month of December 2016. The seizure which is often without any justification causes heavy financial losses on the newspaper.

"We did not understand the reasons behind the repeated confiscation. The security apparatus every time accuses us of something different. Sometimes they say the publisher of the newspaper is a political activist, and sometimes they point to the newspaper’s editorial line," said Abdel Aziz Ashraf, the editor in chief of the newspaper in a press conference held on Wednesday.

’’Recently we have received an alarming explicit order from the NISS demanding us to stop two of our opinion writer, Osman Shabona and Zuhair Siraj,’’ Ashraf further said.

In a defying statement, he added that they would not change the editorial line of the newspaper and "We will hold further protesting marches and sit-ins in the upcoming days," he said.

The publisher of Al-Jareeda said the newspaper is an independent body and is not affiliated to any political party.

Since the announcement of new austerity measures that led to the increase of fuel and electricity princes, the Sudanese newspapers are under unprecedented attack by the NISS agents.

On 29 November 2016 the third day of the first civil disobedience campaign, the security apparatus seized copies of four newspapers on the same day.

Various dailies are confiscated from the printing house to inflict economic losses or ’’economic sanctions" as it was described by a Sudanese journalists.

During the sit-in outside the NCPP’s premises, security agents arrested Al Jazeera TV reporter who was released after deleting his video footage. The journalist had interviewed the two columnists Osman Shabona and Zuhair Siraj who participated in the protest.

(ST)

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