22 February 2014

Sudan: ANHRI Calls On Sudanese Authorities to Cancel Post-Censorship of Newspapers

press release

Cairo: — The Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) today denounced Sudanese authorities' continuity to confiscate and crack down on newspapers with no obvious reasons.

Sudanese security bodies confiscated on 20 February (Al-Ahram), (Al-Watan), and (Akhir Lahza) newspapers' issues after printing them, without giving any reasons.

ANHRI attributed the reason behind the confiscation of these three independent newspapers to publishing news about the decision taken by Egyptian authorities to convert "Halayeb" and "Shalateen", which are areas of disputed sovereignty between Egypt and Sudan, to a city.

ANHRI illustrated that the confiscation of these newspapers appears to be a perpetuation of the security solutions used by Sudanese authorities for gagging opposing voices. Such confiscation occurs under security bodies' control over the field of media and journalism, through imposing censorship on newspapers after they are issued. It also occurs in light of holding the newspapers accountable for what they publish, and, accordingly, they are confiscated after they are printed. This came as an attempt to encumber press institutions by causing financial losses.

ANHRI said "The confiscation the three newspapers because of publishing a piece of news about "Halayeb" and "Shalateen" territories, is a clear violation to freedom of speech as well as press freedoms. Moreover, such confiscation is a new string of the series of encroachments committed by Sudanese authorities against press freedoms in recent period. One of which is the confiscation of all issues of "Al-Taghyeer" newspaper, on 14 February, on the backdrop of publishing a piece of news about demands to integrate Eastern Sudan states. Another example is the suspension of "Al Jarida" newspaper for undefined period, before it has started to be published again on February 14th .

ANHRI showed that since the beginning of 2014, Sudanese security body has consistently confiscated newspapers which do not abide by security bodies' instructions; refusing to become mouthpieces of the regime. This came as an attempt to indirectly force these newspapers to be shut down after encumbering them, due to the high costs of printing newspapers that confiscated by security authorities.

ANHRI demands from Sudanese authorities to halt the prosecution of journalists by security bodies, and to respect freedom of opinion together with freedom of the press. As well, it demands to free press institutions from the domination of security control, and to abolish censorship on newspapers after they are published.

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