The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) fiercely condemned the seizure of five newspapers and the closure of a television station by the Sudanese authorities, on Monday, 28 November, following coverage of a national strike by opposition groups against fuel subsidy cuts.
According to media reports, on 28 November the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) seized the Tuesday editions of newspapers Al- Ayam and Al –Jareeda, Al Tayyar and Al- Tali newspapers without giving any explanation. Similarly, on 30 November, copies of Al – Watan newspaper were also confiscated.
“The confiscation of the newspapers and the forceful closure of Omdurman Television, is unwarranted and a deliberate attack on freedom of expression in Sudan” said IFJ President, Phillipe Leruth. “The Sudanese citizens have the right to receive and access information and this must be respected by the authorities in Sudan. Unilateral confiscation of newspapers amounts to a press freedom violation and also has very negative financial consequences for the media houses and media workers”.
In a statement issued on 29 November, the Sudanese Union of Journalists (SUJ), an IFJ affiliate, said that the Union rejects these exceptional measures affecting the newspapers. “ The SUJ warned that the confiscation of newspapers from the printing press will cause severe damage to media institutions and will negatively affect freedoms in the country”, the statement says. The SUJ also met with the relevant authorities in order to reach an agreement to stop the further confiscation of the newspaper and ensure the sovereignty of the law.
The IFJ condemns this latest media crackdown in Sudan and calls on the national authorities to reopen Omdurman Television immediately and to overturn the NISS decision concerning the seizure of the 5 newspapers.
For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 16
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries