About 150 journalists and activists staged protests in Sudan on Tuesday demanding to know why an independent daily newspaper has been shut by authorities for over a month.
Al-Tayar was closed 36 days ago, just before a series of anti-regime protests sparked by high inflation in the country. The string of protests has led to western governments and rights groups expressing concerns over the government's clampdown on demonstrators and journalists.
"We want the authorities to tell us, first, why the newspaper was stopped, and when it's going to be back," chief editor Osman Mirghani told AFP after the demonstration.
Mirghani says he met with government officials but "nobody can explain what is the problem."
The shutdown of Al-Tayar has cost the newspaper about 500,000 Sudanese pounds ($100,000) because expenses and salaries are still being paid but there is no revenue, Mirghani said.
Al-Tayar was also suspended earlier this year when authorities ordered it to cease publication after running an article about President Omar al-Bashir’s family.
Prior to the demonstrations over increasing prices which began on June 16, journalists and press freedom advocates said that the Sudanese government had been working to silence any critical voices, with journalists banned from writing, newspapers confiscated after printing, and some ordered to suspend publication.
Since the anti-regime demonstrations began, journalists, including foreigners, have been among those detained.
A senior official from the ruling National Congress Party, Rabbie Abdelatti Ebaid, defended freedom of expression in Sudan earlier this week.
"Everybody can write what he wants to write," he Ebaid.
The Sudanese government is often criticized for its heavy-handed approach towards journalists and the country is currently ranked number 170 out of 179 on the annual press freedom index compiled by Reporters Without Borders.