Newspapers seized, journalists arrested as Sudan protests boil over

WEB_PHOTO_Newspapers_190315

A picture taken on January 14, 2015 in Paris, shows a pile of newspapers and magazines.

A picture taken on January 14, 2015 in Paris, shows a pile of newspapers and magazines.

WEB_PHOTO_Newspapers_190315

A picture taken on January 14, 2015 in Paris, shows a pile of newspapers and magazines.

A picture taken on January 14, 2015 in Paris, shows a pile of newspapers and magazines.

JOHANNESBURG – Authorities in Sudan have seized copies of newspapers and arrested several reporters over articles on “anti-inflation protests” prompting calls from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) against the harassment. 

“Sudanese authorities should cease harassing and arresting journalists and confiscating newspapers, and should allow journalists to report on matters of public interest without fear of reprisal,” the CPJ said on Friday.

The Sudanese Journalists Network (SJN) said on Tuesday and Wednesday Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) arrested seven journalists while they were reporting on anti-inflation protests in Khartoum.

READ: Police clash with protesters in Sudan

Reporters from privately owned newspapers Magdi al-Ajib of al-Watan, Rishan Oushi (Mijhar al-Siyasi), Imtenan Al-Radi (al-Youm al-Tali), and freelance journalist Amal Habani were arrested on 16 January.

The next day, Shawky Abdelazim, al-Youm al-Tali editor, Khalid Abdelaziz, Reuters’ Sudan correspondent, and Abdelmunim Abudris, AFP’s correspondent, were arrested.

They all remain in custody.

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A spokesperson for SJN, who does not want to be named said family members of the arrested journalists did not know their whereabouts or if they were facing any charges.

NISS agents also confiscated at least three newspapers multiple times this week over critical coverage of the protests, according to news reports.

“By arresting and intimidating journalists, confiscating newspapers and attempting to censor news dissemination, the Sudanese authorities keep trying to get journalists to stick to the official narrative or pay the price,” CPJ Middle East and North Africa program coordinator Sherif Mansour said.

“We call on the authorities to release the seven journalists immediately and allow the press to do its job.”