The year 2005 was noteworthy for an extremely rare event: the official lifting of censorship. On 11 July, in front of a gathering of several African presidents, the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, and numerous US and European officials, President Omar al-Bashir lifted the emergency laws. However overnight on 5-6 August, Sudanese security forces burst into printers for two Arabic-language dailies, ordered a halt to printing and seized all the available copies. As in the censorship era, the agents gave no official reasons for their actions. That said, no act of censorship has been recorded since. What was previously routine for Sudanese journalists, has become an exception.
The long civil war that tore Sudan apart for 21 years was characterised by tight surveillance of the press. One example of this permanent harassment, was the English-language daily the Khartoum Monitor, which tended to favour the southern rebels, paid the price of the rage of a sensitive government up until the final days of the emergency laws. The newspaper frequently suffered “very special treatment” - arrests, censorship, seizures - from a state security which closely monitored and punished the private media according to the interests of the government.