The Doha Centre for Media Freedom (DCMF) received with regret the news of the closure and seizure of the property of the Sudanese Rai Al-Sha’ab Newspaper by the National and Intelligence Security Service (NISS) on Monday afternoon, January 2nd, 2012.
Fifteen thousand copies of the newspaper were confiscated, and the journalists were asked to leave the building. No explanation was given for the closure or confiscation.
The Sudanese government has a high record of violations of freedom of expression. In a series of abuses, the security forces in Sudan have confiscated, over the last two months, the copies of at least four papers after they were printed, thus inflicting heavy financial damages on them.
Sudan has one of the most restrictive media environments on the African continent. Security forces routinely confiscate newspaper copies containing articles covering sensitive issues or deemed critical of the government. Results published as part of UNESCO 2011 World Press Freedom Day, Sudan ranks as 40 out of 48 in Sub-Saharan Africa for press freedom. Most International human rights organisations describe Sudan as a place where freedom of speech is seriously violated.
Closure and confiscation shall not be used as tools to suppress media freedom and Sudanese authorities should respect the international agreements, which Khartoum ratified.
The DCMF condemns in the strongest words possible all repressive actions of the Sudanese government against journalists and media organisations in Sudan, and urges the authorities to immediately stop imposing distortion of the media, withholding of facts and silencing of the critical dissenting voices.
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