The Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), regional group of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), has condemned today the clampdown on 14 newspapers in Sudan.
According to reports, on Monday February 16 Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) confiscated 14 newspapers before they reached the market without giving reasons and consequently placing subsequent heavy financial burden on the already suffering Sudanese newspapers.
Most of the social and political newspapers were confiscated from the printing press, except Al-Ayaam, Al-Youm Al-Tali, Al-Mustaqilla, Al-Akhbar, Al-Wifaq, Al-Sahafa, Al-Taghyeer, Al-Jareeda and Al-Khartoum.
“This wider plot by the Sudanese Security to muzzle media freedom is a move that must be resisted by all believers in press freedom,” said the President of the FAJ, Mohamed Garba. “FAJ is raising serious concerns on this diversionary attempt to deflect attention from the credibility issues and setback in the course of press freedoms.”
The President of the Sudan Journalists Union (SUJ) Sadiq Al-Reizagi said that the SUJ "firmly denounces the actions of National Intelligence and Security Services to confiscate copies of fourteen newspapers. Security authorities are using excessive and illegal powers to suppress independent media, and we consider a deliberate attack on press freedom and human rights".
From the IFJ, President Jim Boumelha said that the international federation “Strongly condemns these unprecedented raids on newspapers by security agents and warns the Sudanese government to refrain from muzzling journalists in the run up to national elections. They should be left to freely do their job of informing citizens. The IFJ stands squarely behind its member union in its effort to end on-going violations and intimidations against independent media.”
According to media, some sources in Khartoum said the move was caused by publishing news on the decision of the National Elections Commission (NEC) to extend polling in upcoming elections to three days compared to one day in 2010 elections.
“There is a serious affront to media freedom in Sudan following this move which is not commensurate with the constitutional developments and the prevailing atmosphere of freedoms and dialogue,” added Mohamed Garba, who also expressed regret over the applied special measures against newspapers away from the Press and Publishing Act which governs press practice in Sudan.
“Sudan has no right to lag behind in respecting and promoting press freedom. The IFJ and the FAJ join their affiliate Sudan Journalists Union (SJU) to stand by all journalists in Sudan,” said Mohamed Garba.
For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 17
The IFJ represents more than 600 000 journalists in 134 countries