Ameriques Asie Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
Sudan19 May 2008

In latest censorship measure, intelligence agency closes daily for indefinite period

Condemning the National Intelligence and Security Service’s closure of the independent daily newspaper Alwan on 14 May for an indefinite period and the charge of “violating state security” brought against its editor, Hussein Khogali, Reporters Without Borders called today on the government to put a stop to the censorship of the privately-owned press that began in February.

“Alwan’s sudden closure by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) is further evidence of the resumption of censorship of the independent press since the start of 2008,” Reporters Without Borders said. “By reducing the space for free expression even more, the government is danger of aggravating Sudan’s current instability.”

“The resumption of censorship also violates the undertakings to respect press freedom that were given in the July 2005 peace accord and in the constitution,” the organisation added, stressing that it was vital that the journalists should be able to continue to inform the population about developments of public interest.

NISS personnel raided the company that publishes and prints Alwan on 14 May, announced the confiscation of all of its property, ordered all the journalists to leave and closed its offices indefinitely. The charges of “attacking state security” were brought against Khogali on the grounds that he had published confidential military information.

The NISS said it took these measures under articles 6 and 8 of the National Security Forces Act, which says the NISS is responsible for “maintaining Sudan’s security and preserving its unity” and empowers it to “place persons in custody and seize property.”

The Sudan Organisation Against Torture (SOAT) says censorship has been stepped up since the Justice and Equality Movement’s armed attacks near Khartoum on 10 May.

The government restored censorship for the privately-owned media on 6 February after they ran reports referring to government support for an offensive by Chadian rebels against N’Djamena. A NISS official confirmed to Reuters on condition of anonymity on 6 March that prior censorship was “temporarily” in force again. The same day, NISS agents visited several newspapers to check the content of their latest issues before they went to print.

In this country
21 May - Sudan
Call for amendments to harsh new press law
2 March - Sudan
Detained journalist put on a flight to London
11 February - Sudan
“They asked me why I was asking about arms. Then they said they wanted me to leave the country”: the story of a Canadian-egyptian journalist expelled by the authorities
25 November - Sudan
For the good of the country, stop censoring
14 October - Sudan
South Sudan newspaper editor released

in the annual report
Sudan - Annual Report 2008
Sudan - Annual Report
Sudan - Annual report 2006

Africa press releases
3 June - Somalia
Alarm at TV station director’s abduction near Mogadishu
27 May - Gabon
Government imposes news blackout on President Bongo’s health
26 May - Somalia
Radio reporter shot by militia dies of injuries, fourth journalist to be killed this year

africa archives

18 March 2009 - Democratic Republic of Congo
“Bukavu, murder city”: investigation report into murders of journalists in the capital of Sud-Kivu
21 May 2008 - Eritrea
Naizghi Kiflu, the dictatorship’s eminence grise
6 March 2008 - Kenya
"How far to go ?" Kenya’s media caught in the turmoil of a failed election

Sign the petitions
Sign the petition for the release of ten Eritrean journalists