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Sudan13 February 2003

Seizure of an independent daily

On 8 February the Sudanese authorities confiscated the following day’s edition of the Arab-language daily As-Sahafa.

’We denounce this constant policy of harassment against independent newspapers. Summons, veiled threats, seizures-such has been the lot, for too long now, of this press which consequently incurs huge financial losses. We call on the Sudanese authorities to put an end to these practices’, said Robert Ménard, secretary-general of Reporters Without Borders.

On 8 February the Sudanese authorities confiscated the Arab-language daily As-Sahafa (dated 9 February) at the newspaper printworks. No explanation was given to Nur el Din Madani, the editor. However the 7 February edition carried an article quoting statements by the Popular National Congress (PNC, Hassan el-Tourabi’s banned party) criticising the renewal of the state of emergency. Later in the day, press bureau spokesmen of the security forces, at a meeting with the newspaper’s shareholders and staff warned the latter that if they pursued their political line they would undergo new sanctions. One of the paper’s editors told Reporters Without Borders that ’the aim of this type of confiscation was to make the newspaper incur financial difficulties’.

On 16 January 2003 all the copies of the English-language daily the Khartoum Monitor were seized by the security forces. This issue contained an article on the absence of a government delegation at Machakos (Kenya) at the peace talks with the southern rebels. The day before, Nhial Bol, editor of the daily, and Alfred Taban, managing editor, were summoned by the security forces and accused of being close to the southern rebels.



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