The journalists, who included Ashraf Abdelaziz, the editor of the newspaper Al-Jareeda, were arrested while staging a peaceful sit-in outside NISS headquarters in Khartoum in protest against the now almost daily confiscation of Al-Jareeda’s issues.
Al-Jareeda has been particularly targeted because of its refusal to comply with the NISS-imposed policy of censoring coverage of the current wave of major anti-government demonstrations that began three weeks ago in Sudan.
“We unreservedly condemn these new arrests, the latest escalation in the government’s harassment of media outlets and journalists who try to cover the ongoing events in their country,” said Arnaud Froger, the head of RSF’s Africa desk. “The policy of systematically confiscating newspapers and arbitrarily arresting reporters is reaching alarming levels. This persecution of journalists and clampdown on news coverage must stop.”
Since the protests began on 19 December, RSF has registered more than 90 press freedom violations, including 62 arrests and 21 seizures of newspaper by the NISS. Al-Jareeda issues have been confiscated 11 times.
Sudan is ranked 174th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index.