Sudan security agents seize daily’s print run

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A Sudanese daily newspaper that was allowed to resume publishing in March after a ban of nearly two years has been seized, its chief editor said on Sunday.

National security agents confiscated the entire print run, about 23,000 copies, of Al-Tayar’s Saturday edition, its editor Osman Mirghani told AFP.

According to Mirghani, the security agency said it seized the edition because Al-Tayar wrote about Investment Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail’s anger at delays in the government’s national dialogue.

The minister has left Sudan for Cairo, Al-Tayar reported.

“This is what we wrote,” Mirghani said.

President Omar al-Bashir in January announced a national dialogue aimed at resolving multiple crises in the impoverished, war-ravaged nation.

But the arrest of political figures, and continued press censorship, has raised questions about the regime’s commitment to reform.

“The biggest problem is the freedom. We don’t have enough freedom to write everything,” Mirghani said, describing the country’s media environment as “very dark”.

It was the first time the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) has confiscated Al-Tayar since it resumed publishing.

In March, the Constitutional Court overturned a security order which had stopped Al-Tayar’s presses since June 2012.

The chief editor of another daily, Al-Tagheer, told AFP on Saturday that the NISS stopped his newspaper from publishing for three days last week.

Another journal returned to the streets on Sunday after a ban of several weeks.

In an editorial, Al-Saiha daily said it was back and “will learn a lesson from the past”.

The newspaper is run by Al-Tayeb Mustafa, an uncle of Bashir.

The Paris-based watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said in late May that security agents ordered Al-Saiha’s suspension after it published accusations of corruption in the justice ministry.

In its Sunday edition the newspaper was still reporting on alleged official graft, this time in eastern Kassala state.

Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman has said “there should be a balance between freedom and responsibility” in the media.

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