Khartoum — On Friday, agents of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) detained Ahmed Younis, correspondent of the London-based El Sharq El Awsat, and Maha El Tilib, journalist of El Tayyar newspaper at Wad Nubawi in Omdurman while covering a demonstration against the government.
On Thursday, Sudanese journalists embarked on a three-day strike in response to peaceful demonstrations and protests across the country, protesting the authorities' continued crackdown on press freedom and expression, and the arrest of a number of journalists.
Last week, International press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) issued a statement voicing its alarm at "a new crackdown on the Sudanese media, which has included arrests, attacks on journalists, publication bans and internet cuts.
RSF confirms that nine journalists were briefly arrested last week by the NISS while gathered outside the headquarters of the newspaper Al-Tayar in protest against this harassment of the media. Earlier yesterday, the Sudanese Journalists Network called for a three-day strike. Around ten reporters were also briefly arrested by the NISS on 25 December. On that same day, three journalists were physically attacked by members of the security forces. Two - Al Jazeera correspondent Ahmed Alrehaid and Al-Tayar editor Khalid Fathi - were injured while covering protests. The third, Al-Sudani editor Yassir Abdallah, received several blows to the face as he was forcibly taken away in car after a NISS raid on the newspaper. RSF has learned the security forces also tried to storm the offices of two other newspapers, Al-Tayar and Al-Mustaqila.
On December 20, the NISS summoned several journalists in Khartoum for covering topics related to the ongoing economic crisis, and related cash, fuel, and bread shortages. The Sudanese Journalists' Network has condemned the summonses as a violation of the media charter.
The media in Sudan are continuously subjected to confiscations of newspapers, and summons and detentions of journalists. Sudan is ranked at the bottom of the World Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders.