Sudan newspapers face crackdown from authorities

Sudan's Islamist opposition leader Hassan al-Turabi. (Ashraf Shazly, AFP)

Sudan's Islamist opposition leader Hassan al-Turabi. (Ashraf Shazly, AFP)

Sudan’s constitution guarantees press freedoms, but journalists complain they face heavy pressure from authorities, especially after the secession of South Sudan last year.

The editor of newspaper al-Tayar, Osman Mirghani, said a security agency official had told him on Monday evening that the newspaper would be suspended from publication until further notice.

“He did not tell us why the newspaper was stopped from publishing or how long it would be stopped,” he said.

Tayar is close to the country’s Islamist movement, and crossed authorities in February by reporting Islamist opposition leader Hassan al-Turabi’s accusations that security services had bugged his office. Tayar was also briefly suspended then.

There was no immediate comment from the security agency on Tuesday. The National Press Council, which is in charge of licensing newspapers, could not be immediately reached for comment.

Confiscated edition
Journalists say authorities have become more sensitive to controversial subjects, such as the country’s mounting economic crisis, corruption, or repeated border clashes with South Sudan.

In another sign of the crackdown, Abdel Majed Abdel Hamid, editor of al-Ahram al-Youm newspaper, said authorities had confiscated the Tuesday edition of his paper after printing. The newspaper published an interview on Monday with Pagan Amum, South Sudan’s chief negotiator.

Sudan and South Sudan, at odds over a number of partition-related issues, have been meeting in Addis Ababa, but there have been few public signs of progress.

Security agents last week confiscated an edition of Sudan’s most widely read newspaper, al-Intibaha, after it blasted plans by the ruling party to end fuel subsidies.  - Reuters

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