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Sudan’s National Security bans journalist from writing, confiscate daily newspaper

The Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), has communicated a verbal decision to the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Al Sayha newspaper, Eng. Al Tayeb Mustafa, banning journalist Abdul Bagi Al Zafir from writing in the newspaper. The ban also included the suspension of the television program presented by Al Zafir in Omdurman Satellite Channel. “I am sad because of the decision,” Al Zafir told Radio Dabanga. He added, “I was informed of the decision on Saturday”. “The ban proves the government is unable to deal with the different voices, and this shows that the cherished future democratic change is not going to happen in this atmosphere,” he said.

The ban came against the backdrop of the writing of a report by Mr. Al Zafir. The NISS said: “the report contains partisan and organizational secrets regarding the decision to re-elect President Omer Al Bashir for a third term in the coming 2020 elections”.

The report contained details of the National Assembly’s closed meetings on the decision to re-elect Al Bashir.

Mr. Al Zafir criticized the position of the Union of Sudanese Journalists, which did not act against the ban and did not care to interact with him “even at the social level.”

The ban comes after the new press and publications bill, which was approved by the Council of Ministers in June. The bill provides for the suspension of journalists from writing and the expansion of powers of the Press and Publications Council.

Meanwhile, NISS seized copies of print-runs of Al Sayha newspaper from the press on Monday, without giving any reason. In the same month, the distribution of Al Jareeda newspaper was repeatedly delayed by the intelligence services.

The NISS warned the newspapers’ chief editors during a meeting with them last August of the seriousness of media crossing what it called “red lines”, especially those related to the re-election of the Sudanese President.

The above procedures contravene Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which provides for freedom of opinion and expression. It also contradicts the provisions of Article 39 (1) of the Sudanese Constitution, which states: every citizen shall have an unrestricted right to the freedom of expression, reception and dissemination of information, publication, and access to the press without prejudice to order, safety or public morals as determined by law.

Source: Dabanga Sudan