8 March 2014

Sudan - ANHRI Denounces the Ongoing Confiscation of Newspapers By Sudanese Authorities

press release

Cairo: — The Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) today condemned Sudanese authorities' continuity to adopt security solutions for suppressing and cracking down on press freedoms, through the confiscation of newspapers after printing them, without any legal ground. Such a matter leads to undermining press and media freedoms in Sudan.

Sudanese Security and Intelligence bodies confiscated the issue of "Alhurra" newspaper, released on Thursday 8 March, without any clear reason. This came after the security apparatus confiscated the newspapers' issues on the 3rd and the 5th of March, without clarifying the reasons behind such a measure.

In a related issue, Sudanese security bodies confiscated on Wednesday 5 March the issues of "Elaph business" together with "Alhurra" newspapers, from the printing press. Furthermore, they seized "The Citizen" English newspaper, and banned the distribution company from delivering it to libraries. This occurred before the newspaper's administration regained the newspaper, but it didn't manage to distribute any of its issues; incurring these press institutions great financial losses.

The Arab Network illustrated that since the start 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.

"The confiscation of "Elaph business" and "Alhurra" newspapers along with the seizure of "The Citizen" English newspaper, are to be added to Sudanese security body's suppressive practices, which are being adopted during recent period against press institutions together with their employees. These practices included confiscating the newspapers, prosecuting journalists against the backdrop of their profession, banning journalists, writers, opinion makers from writing for security reasons, and closing press institutions for varying periods of time", ANHRI said.

The Arab Network added that Sudanese authorities' ongoing confiscation of newspapers without clear reasons, proves that the purpose of such practices is to suppress press freedoms. This is in addition to encumbering press institutions that are opposing the regime by causing financial losses, so that they are forced to be shut down.

ANHRI urges Sudanese authorities to put pressure on the security bodies to respect freedom of expression and opinion as well as press freedom. It also demands to free the press institutions from the security control and to abolish the post-censorship on newspapers.

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