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Sudanese security confiscates 4 newspapers again

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Sudanese men look at newspapers displayed at a kiosk in the capital Khartoum on February 16, 2015. (AFP Photo)
December 1, 2017 (KHARTOUM) -Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) on Friday has seized print runs of al-Tayyar, al-Jarida, al-Watan and Akhir Lahza newspapers from the printing house for the fourth consecutive day without giving reasons.

Chief-Editor of al-Tayyar Osman Merghani told Sudan Tribune he didn’t receive “clear and real” response from the NISS officers to his question about the repeated confiscations.

He said the pro-government Sudanese Journalists Union (SJU) had previously pledged to interfere to stop the continued confiscations but “so far nothing has happened”.

Merghani described the plight of the press as a reflection of the country’s crisis, saying his newspaper incurred a loss of 500,000 pounds (about $20,000) as a result of the five consecutive confiscations.

Meanwhile, the editorial board of al-Jareeda has decided to suspend the publication of the news daily on Saturday.

“We decided to suspend publication on Saturday in protest against the consecutive seizure of the newspaper” al-Jarida managing editor Majid al-Ghoni told Sudan Tribune.

For its part, the independent Sudanese Journalists Network (SJN) said the mass confiscations of the newspaper constitutes “major setback against press freedoms”.

In a statement on Friday, the SJN described the NISS crackdown on the press as “massacre”, saying it is the harshest campaign against the Sudanese newspapers since hundred years ago.

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 in 2009, 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 the printing house 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.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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