19 June 2017

Sudan: News Paper Akhir Lahza Gagged for Second Day in a Row

Khartoum — On Sunday morning, agents of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) confiscated the entire print-run of Akhir Lahza newspaper for the second day in a row.

"No reasons were given," the Sudanese Journalists' Network said in a statement on Sunday. They condemned the return of confiscations by the NISS, after "a stop for months".

The Network as well strongly denounced the continued summoning of journalists "in an attempt to silence the press".

It pointed to the repeated questioning of Mohamed Widaa, Editor-in-chief of El Baath newspaper, and the summoning of columnist and editor Nadir Atta after he wrote an opinion article about "the failure of state agencies to deal with corruption in the Sudanese sports world, in particular the Sudanese Football Federation".

Press freedom

In its report about press freedoms in the fourth quarter of last year, the Sudanese Journalists Network noted an increase of violations, such as summons, detentions, and prosecutions of journalists, and the confiscation of newspapers. A total of 38 print-runs were confiscated in the last quarter, and 11 journalists were summoned or detained.

According to the report, the NISS uses the "weapon of confiscation" of the printed copies in order to impoverish the newspapers that violate the "red lines" imposed by the authorities. Another way is to deny the acquisition of advertisements.

The Sudanese Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) reported in May this year that the NISS seized 66 print-runs of Sudanese newspapers between May 2016 and May this year. Ten newspapers were suspended for days. 15 women reporters were abused.

"The Sudanese security service uses the right of litigation and investigation by means of punitive, selective, and discriminatory measures, targeting journalists and the press, as well as using other methods to intimidate them with prosecution. These do not meet fair trial conditions, along with procedures to force them to exercise self-censorship, with directives and security orders," JHR stated.

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