Cairo — ANHRI condemns the ongoing repressive campaign launched by the Sudanese security forces, represented in closure and confiscation of newspapers and intimidation of the staffers, in order to silence critical dissenting voices. Most recently, security forces seized the copies of Alwan newspaper after print, failing to give reasons and without any legal basis.
The Sudanese Journalists Network condemned the incident in a statement, and described it as unconstitutional and unlawful. It also affirmed that these practices aim at inflicting the heaviest possible loss on the publisher to force him to abandon the newspaper.
The 2005 Sudanese press and publications law affirms in article (5) that press and journalists are free and that no publisher shall be detained in matters relating to the exercise of his profession, except in the cases specified by law. The article also states that gag orders, confiscation, and closure are only allowed in specific situations in accordance with the constitution and the law. However, this article is not realized on the ground.
It is worth noting that the Sudanese government has taken several arbitrary measures against freedom of press since the declaration of the state of South Sudan last July. It canceled six newspapers' licenses, and closed the independent newspaper Al-Jarida for an indefinite period, following the raid of its headquarters last September.
"These ongoing repressive practices point at the stringency of the government and its open hostility towards press and media freedoms, albeit the publicity promises of the Sudanese president Al-Bashir that stress on press freedom and promise the release of detained journalists" said ANHRI.
"Freedom of opinion and expression is an inalienable human right that may not be confiscated under any circumstances or in any capacity. The Sudanese authorities have to be well aware that there is no room for confiscation in the light of social networking and technology. Therefore, they have to abandon the repressive policing mentality and to allow public freedoms, especially freedom of opinion and expression" added ANHRI.