Sudan newspapers blocked

By Nangayi Guyson – Khartoum- At least two Sudanese  independent newspapers were blocked by on Monday government to distribute newspapers, a day after violent clashes in Khartoum in which dozens were arrested, including a journalist, their editors said.

Annur Ahmed Annur, editor-in-chief of the independent daily Al-Sahafa and Fayez al-Sillik, deputy editor of Ajras al-Hurriya said “Security officers came to the printers at 02:00 and ordered the staff not to distribute our newspaper.”

“They came to the printers at 23:00 and read all the pages of our paper… Then they came back three hours later, took a number of copies and said ‘no one can distribute this paper until we return’, which they didn’t.”

Sudan’s press council could not immediately be contacted to comment on the reported censorship of the two papers.

Crackdown on critical media

But a senior official of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s National Congress Party, Rabie Abdul Ati, told AFP he thought it was “not a political matter”.

“This should be understood according to the terms of the press act, which mentions the level of freedom about what can be published and what cannot be published, what will be considered as against national security, and what will actually be considered as the freedom of the press,” he said.

Khartoum has taken steps to crack down on critical media in the past week.

On Sunday, security officials barred more than a dozen journalists from covering the protests around the capital, which followed calls by a Facebook group for peaceful anti-government rallies across Sudan.

Soldiers held an AFP cameraman for two hours, and three journalists were arrested, including a reporter with Al-Sahafa, who was detained as she went out to cover the demonstrations.

On Thursday, two Sudanese journalists were charged with attacking the constitution, an offence punishable by death, after one wrote an article calling for self-determination in restive east Sudan, their lawyer said.