News24

Sudan journalists protest censorship

2012-06-05 19:09

Khartoum - Sudanese journalists and Communist Party members held a sit-in on Tuesday to protest against repeated restrictions against their newspaper, part of what press freedom advocates describe as an intensifying clampdown on critical voices.

The protest came as another newspaper separately said it had been blocked from circulating.

Staff of the Communist Party's thrice-weekly Al Midan gathered outside the Sudanese press council saying state security agents had prevented distribution of their paper 13 times over the past month.

"We delivered a message to the press council calling on them to protect the rights of our newspaper," said Al Midan's female chief editor, Madiha Abdullah.

The protesters displayed banners objecting to the actions of the security service and also to the banning of journalists.

Press freedom advocates say journalists have been banned from writing and some newspapers have been told to suspend publication under a government crackdown that has also seen Al Midan and other newspapers prevented from distributing after going to press.

Confiscated papers

The crackdown has worsened over the past year as tensions with South Sudan have escalated, advocates say.

The independent daily Al Jarida on Tuesday became the latest to be stopped from circulating, managing editor Idris Al Douma said.

After the newspaper was printed on Monday night, a state security officer arrived to say it could not be delivered to customers but the ban was lifted on Tuesday afternoon when it was too late, the editor said.

He added he did not know what prompted the censorship.

Confiscating newspapers after printing is a common tactic of Sudan's security service.

On Monday, agents blocked distribution of the country's largest-circulation newspaper, the hardline anti-South Sudan daily Al Intibaha, the newspaper's chair said.