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Sudanese security continues crackdown on press, seizes 4 newspapers

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November 29, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) on Wednesday has seized print runs of four newspapers from the printing house without stating reasons.

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A Sudanese man reads a newspaper as he waits to pay at a kiosk in the capital Khartoum (AFP)

Al-Tayyar, al-Jarida and Akhir Lahza newspapers were seized for the second consecutive day as Al-Watan daily was confiscated for the second time within three days.

Publisher and Chief Editor of al-Tayyar Osman Merghani said copies of his newspaper were seized from the printing house Wednesday, pointing out it was the third confiscation within one week.

“Until now we are not aware of the reasons or the press materials behind the [NISS] measure,” he told Sudan Tribune.

He disclosed his newspaper incurred a loss of 300,000 pounds (about $12000) including the printing costs and the paid advertisement due to the three confiscations in less than a week.

For its part, the pro-government Sudanese Journalists Union (SJU) regretted confiscating newspapers print-runs, saying the move is inconsistent with the outcome of the National Dialogue.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the SJU said the confiscation of newspapers would harm the press freedoms, warning against a crackdown on the press as the international community is closely monitoring freedoms situation in Sudan.

“"The SJU renews its rejection for these confiscations and the use of exceptional measures in the face of newspapers, and calls for adherence to laws governing the profession,” read the statement.

Meanwhile, the independent Sudanese Journalists Network (SJN) has described the mass confiscations of newspapers as “press massacre”.

In a statement on Wednesday, the SJN said the regime continues its “war of extermination against the Sudanese press”, pointing out it would consult and coordinate with the press base inside Sudan and abroad to decide on the next move.

Chief-Editor of al-Jarida Ashraf Abdel-Aziz told Sudan Tribune his newspaper incurred a loss of 25,000 pounds (about $1000) as a result of the confiscation on Tuesday, saying they print 10,000 copies daily.

Press censorship was officially abolished in Sudan in 2009, but gradually the security services resumed the confiscation of newspapers since the secession of South Sudan in 2011.

Confiscation of printed copies is seen as an economic penalty on the press the security service decides when a newspaper publishes news or opinion articles criticising the government. But sometimes the measure aims to prevent publication of statements or disclosure of information on sensitive issues.

(ST)

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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