Ameriques Asie Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
Sudan3 June 2008

Members of southern group take part in raids on Khartoum newspapers

Reporters Without Borders condemns the methods being used by the Sudanese government to censor Khartoum-based newspapers. In the latest case early yesterday, members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) - the political wing of the former rebel group in the south that is now part of a unity government - participated in a raid on the privately-owned Arabic-language daily Ajras Al-Huriyya.

“The Sudanese political class is now working in league to control news and information, as if readers were not sufficient adult to be allowed to know what is going on,” the press freedom organisation said. “We repeat that the restoration of censorship is illegal and unacceptable, as well as being ineffective, and we urge the political forces that make up the government not to continue down this retrograde path.”

At around 1:30 a.m. yesterday, a unit of the Sudanese security forces raided the Khartoum printing press that prints Ajras Al-Huriyya and ordered the suppression of an entire page of yesterday’s issue. Since it was too late to replace the missing page, the editors decided not to print the newspaper. The security forces also asked Ajras Al-Huriyya’s staff to sign a previously-drafted statement undertaking not to published the censored content online or elsewhere.

Such last-minute raids and the signing of previously-drafting undertakings are the new methods being used to prevent newspapers from appearing since censorship was illegally re-introduced on 6 February. Yesterday’s operation was the second time that the participation of SPLM members in such a raid has been noted since a global North-South peace accord was signed in 2005.

The first time was on 26 May, when a raid was carried out on the privately-owned weekly Al-Midan to censor several parts of an editorial and an interview with foreign minister Deng Alor, a senior SPLM official. Alor is a member of the Dinka Ngok ethnic group from the disputed southern oil town of Abyei where there have been deadly clashes between the Sudanese army and the SPLM’s military wing since the start of May. Al-Midan’s management refused to sign the previously-drafted undertaking during the raid.

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