12 June 2012

Sudan Seizes Daily, Suspends Another

Photo: Sudan Tribune
Censoring the media.

Khartoum — Security authorities in Sudan suspended on Tuesday the publication of Al-Tayyar newspaper and confiscated copies of Al-Ahram al-Yawm, in the most recent violation of press freedom in the east African country.

Al-Tayyar's editor-in-chief, Osman Mirghani, told Reuters that an agent of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) informed him on Monday evening that the paper would be suspended for an indefinite time without giving any reasons.

"He did not tell us why the newspaper was stopped from publishing or how long it would be stopped," Mirghani said.

Sudanese newspapers and individual journalists have been facing greater repression from the authorities since the secession of South Sudan in July last year.

Three newspapers including Al-Tayyar itself were suspended since the beginning of this year and several others have had their copies confiscated for publishing contents that upset the authorities.

Al-Tayyar was briefly shut down in February after it published a commentary criticizing Sudan's president Omer Al-Bashir. The title was allowed to resume publishing after it made an official apology.

Similarly, the editor of the privately owned Al-Ahramn al-Yawm newspaper, Abdel Majed Abdel Hamid, said that the NISS had confiscated the paper's Tuesday edition after it ran an interview on Monday with the chief negotiator of South Sudan, Pagan Amum.

"According to them, this was unacceptable" he told AFP.

Sudanese newspapers are under strict instructions by the NISS not to report statements or activities of South Sudanese officials or rebel groups fighting the government in the border regions of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

The fresh crackdown on the press comes ahead of plans by the government to lift fuel subsidies in an action that some within the ruling group fear it could spark street protests.

Last week the authorities confiscated copies of Al-Intibaha newspaper whose editor said it was because he wrote criticizing the plans to end fuel subsidies.

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