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Sudanese security seize five newspapers, journalists strike

November 30, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) on Wednesday has continued its mass confiscations campaign against newspapers and seized copies of five dailies prompting some journalists to go on strike.

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Sudanese journalists demonstrate outside Al-Tayyar’s building in Khartoum on 20 July 2014 (ST)

Mass confiscation has emerged as a new technique of punishment by the NISS which tend to accuse affected newspapers of disseminating news that adversely impact on national security.

At dawn on Wednesday, the NISS seized print runs of Al-Tayyar, Al-Jareeda, Al-Ayam, Al-Youm Al-Tali and Al-Watan newspapers from the printing house without giving reasons.

It is noteworthy that Al-Jareeda and Al-Ayam have been seized three times during this week while Al-Youm Al-Tali and Al-Tayyar were confiscated twice.

Also, authorities ordered to close down the independent Omdurman TV station on Sunday.

Media sources say the NISS has intensified crackdown on newspapers for publishing news reports and articles on the nationwide civil disobedience act which took place between 27 and 29 November.

Meanwhile, the Sudanese Journalists Network (SJN) on Wednesday went on strike to protest the continued mass confiscations of newspapers.

In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune, the unofficial union, which is a pro-democratic group of independent journalists, called on Editors-in-Chiefs and publishers to participate in the strike in order to stop NISS’s crackdown on press.

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 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)