Port Sudan — On Tuesday the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) in Port Sudan summoned journalist Mohammed Osman Babikir, a reporter for the daily El Sayha newspaper, following an article in the newspaper covering the arrest of the of a leader of the ruling National Congress Party in the state, Sheikh Yousif Ali Baitai.
Sources from Red Sea state told Radio Dabanga that Osman could not respond to the summons, however, as he was out of the state.
El Sayha newspaper published a report about the arrest and interrogation by Red Sea state authorities of Sheikh Baitai because of his objection to decisions by the party's leadership office in the state to relieve the Speaker of the State Legislative Council, Ahmed Mohammed Ali Musa, from duty.
During the past years, the NISS upgraded its already severe restrictions on press freedoms by restoring 'pre-publication censorship' and issuing a number of 'red lines' on matters that are not supposed to be covered by the media.
The purpose of confiscating print-runs is to exhaust the newspapers financially, the editor-in-chief of El Jareeda newspaper earlier explained to Radio Dabanga. "It is in fact a direct and methodical liquidation, meant to kill the independent press," he said.
The Sudan scores 86 points out of 100 (0=Most Free/100=Least Free) on the list of 201 countries in the Freedom of the Press 2017 report of the USA-based Freedom House.
Last month, the Press and Publications Court ruled that journalist Suheir Abdelrahim must pay a fine of SDG3,000 ($446,800) for criticising Sudanese police.
Abdelrahim, a former journalist of El Tayyar newspaper, was fined on the grounds of insulting the performance of the Khartoum police director in one of her articles.