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British ambassador meets Sudanese journalists over press confiscation

December 5, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The British Ambassador to Sudan Michael Aron reportedly has pledged to work for a joint diplomatic action to support four Sudanese newspapers seized by the Sudanese security service for more than a week on daily basis.

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British Ambassador to Sudan Michael Aron (Reuters Photo)

Aron on Tuesday met with the editors in chief of Al-Tayyar, Akhir Lahza, Al-Jarida, and Al-Watan as the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) confiscated the printed runs of the four dailies for the eighth day.

On Monday, the four journalists reached out the Prime Minister’s Office, the Parliament, the NISS headquarters, the Union and the Press and Publications Council, a government body, to protest against the unjustified seizures of newspapers.

Sources close to the meeting told Sudan Tribune that the British ambassador sought to understand the reason behind the 8-day seizure who is behind the decision, the NISS or a political official. Also, he wondered if the confiscation would continue or would be stopped.

The sources further said Aron promised to discuss the matter with the ambassadors of the European Union and the United States to consider issuing a statement on this respect.

The same sources confirmed that the ambassador promised to discuss the issue with the ambassadors of the European Union and the United States, and expected a statement in this regard.

The British ambassador promised to register visits to the damaged newspaper headquarters after Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour returned from a planned visit to London.

The confiscation of the printed edition is feared by the newspapers because it means a significant loss of money and affects their fragile economic conditions.

However, the media department of the NISS on Tuesday evening reached the editors-in-chief of the affected dailies and reassured them that they would not be confiscated, according to several sources.

The Sudanese government vowed to respect press freedom in line with the National Document endorsed by the National Dialogue Conference last year. But this recommendation and others related to religious freedom are not yet implemented.

(ST)