Intensifying Censorship is Key Part of Khartoum Regime’s Response to Popular Uprising
As protests increase throughout Sudan, news reporting of popular outrage over catastrophic price hikes for basic commodities also increases; the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime is determined to continue with its present policy of ever-greater censorship. “Red lines” are becoming more restrictive, more crushing of news reporting:
• More newspapers seized for covering Sudan price protests | Radio Dabanga, January 9, 2018 | KHARTOUM
More newspapers have also been confiscated for neglecting directives of the security apparatus to the press not to report on the demonstrations against Sudan’s price hikes.
Print-runs of El Jareeda and El Baath newspapers were seized from the printing press, Mohamed Widaa, editor-in-chief of Baath and also spokesman for the political Arab Baath party, told Radio Dabanga. This brings the total number of seized newspapers that went against the security service’s directives and covered the street protests in the past two days to eight. “The reason was that Baath dealt with the news of the demonstrations and the surge of prices,” Widaa said. “But there is no respected newspaper to be issued without this news.” He stressed their commitment to moral principles and respect for the reader the Sudanese people. “This makes it imperative for us to publish the news, even if we see that it would make [the security service] want to confiscate the newspaper.”
Widaa added that the newspaper will not stop nor falsify the facts and publish them. “The security apparatus is acting above the law. The government is the one that is making the current news but wants to prevent publication about it.”
This is the crucial point: the very regime policies that have led to the protests are now the focus of press censorship and repression in the streets—ER]
Majid El Goni, the editor-in-chief of the independent daily El Jareeda, said that the security apparatus did not provide an explanation when officers confiscated the print-runs from the printing press on Monday. “The newspaper’s dealing with the protests rejecting the new budget could be the reason for the confiscation.” In the past days El Jareeda had also dealt with protests in El Gezira, Darfur and Sennar states, however, “not only did the leaders of the opposition talk about the budget, but also the leaders of the National Congress Party did.
“Every day the red lines set by the security service for the Sudanese press are gaining territory, preventing any publication on a news subject.”
[And this is the other crucial point: as demonstrations accelerate, so censorship and security repression in the streets will only become more intense—something has to give. So far the regime gives no signs of backing away from its catastrophic 2018 budget, in part because it simply can’t: the economy has been too fully destroyed and there are no means of revival at hand—ER]
On Sunday morning, officers of the NISS halted the distribution of six newspapers, including Akhbar El Watan, El Midan, El Sayha, El Mustagilla, El Garar, and El Tayyar.