Sudan - Members of southern group take part in raids on Khartoum newspapers



    MONTREAL, June 3 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders condemns the
methods being used by the Sudanese government to censor Khartoum-based
newspapers. In the latest case early yesterday, members of the Sudan People's
Liberation Movement (SPLM) - the political wing of the former rebel group in
the south that is now part of a unity government - participated in a raid on
the privately-owned Arabic-language daily Ajras Al-Huriyya.
    "The Sudanese political class is now working in league to control news
and information, as if readers were not sufficient adult to be allowed to know
what is going on," the press freedom organisation said. "We repeat that the
restoration of censorship is illegal and unacceptable, as well as being
ineffective, and we urge the political forces that make up the government not
to continue down this retrograde path."
    At around 1:30 a.m. yesterday, a unit of the Sudanese security forces
raided the Khartoum printing press that prints Ajras Al-Huriyya and ordered
the suppression of an entire page of yesterday's issue. Since it was too late
to replace the missing page, the editors decided not to print the newspaper.
The security forces also asked Ajras Al-Huriyya's staff to sign a
previously-drafted statement undertaking not to published the censored content
online or elsewhere.
    Such last-minute raids and the signing of previously-drafting
undertakings are the new methods being used to prevent newspapers from
appearing since censorship was illegally re-introduced on 6 February.
Yesterday's operation was the second time that the participation of SPLM
members in such a raid has been noted since a global North-South peace accord
was signed in 2005.
    The first time was on 26 May, when a raid was carried out on the
privately-owned weekly Al-Midan to censor several parts of an editorial and an
interview with foreign minister Deng Alor, a senior SPLM official. Alor is a
member of the Dinka Ngok ethnic group from the disputed southern oil town of
Abyei where there have been deadly clashes between the Sudanese army and the
SPLM's military wing since the start of May. Al-Midan's management refused to
sign the previously-drafted undertaking during the raid.




For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, secretary general,
Reporters Without Borders, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4208, Fax: (514)
521-7771, rsfcanada@rsf.org

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