Sudan shuts Islamist paper in media crackdown

KHARTOUM - Sudan shut the newspaper of the country's largest Islamist opposition party on Monday, the latest step in a growing crackdown on independent media in the large African country.
Security forces raided offices belonging to the daily al-Rai al-Shaab newspaper run by the Popular Congress Party of Hassan al-Turabi. They told staff that publication would be halted and the paper's assets confiscated, the party said.
"They haven't given us any reason for the decision. They are now occupying the newspaper's building," said party spokesman Naji Dahab. "We think it's because the government cannot handle press freedom."
Journalists in Sudan complain of increasing pressure and harassment by security forces if they criticize the government or cover sensitive issues such as Sudan's severe economic crisis since the south split to become an independent state last July.
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