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ANHRI condemns seizure of "Al-Ahdath" newspapers by security forces

(ANHRI/IFEX) - August 8 2011 - ANHRI condemns the recent confiscation of copies of the independent daily newspaper "Al-Ahdath" by the Sudanese Security Forces , after it had been printed and before it had been distributed to the markets. No official reason was given for the confiscation. However, the Sudanese authorities have been known to confiscate newspapers after they have been printed in order to inflict the heaviest possible financial loss on the publisher. The publisher, then, would presumably have to stop issuing the newspaper altogether. The Sudanese authorities have undertaken similar practices several times before, the last case being that of the "Ajras Al-Hurriya" newspaper last June.

Journalistic and media freedoms have been severely deteriorating in Sudan in the past few months. Authorities have been openly hostile to journalism and media. Last month, authorities cancelled the licenses of six newspapers because some of the owners are now South-Sudanese, hence, as foreigners, they have lost their right to issue newspapers in the North. Meanwhile, journalists Fatima Ghazali and Amal Habbani are now in prison following their publication of articles about the Sudanese activist "Safiya" who accused elements of the Sudanese Security of raping her. At the same time, media professionals and activists from Radio Dabanga are being tried for broadcasting "false information that is detrimental to the reputation of the state."

"Sudanese authorities have undertaken a policy of suppression and confiscation. They suppress freedom of opinion and expression, as well as impose all kinds of restrictions on journalism and media. Therefore, the international community and concerned organizations should pressure the Sudanese authorities more effectively to guarantee freedom of opinion and expression as an inalienable human right," said ANHRI.

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