- Sudanese press regulator has suspended two English newspapers on Monday for allegedly employing journalists who are hostile to government.
Editor in chief of The Citizen, Nhial Bol, said suspension of his independent daily comes as a sanction following his rejection to remove Managing Editor who is from war torn Darfur region.
"Many members of the National Press Council (NPC) privately approached me and asked to step down from nominating Izzadine Abdoul-Rassuou because they believed that his presence in the management would influence editorial contents, I rejected this call since April 2008," he said.
Sudan Tribune has also had its license revoked by NPC, which denies the move is politically motivated.
Owner of Tribune William Ezekiel said regulator was targeting Sudan Tribune because of articles and editorials by three southern journalists accusing Khartoum of obstructing 2005 peace deal.
"They said we need to change our editorial. They are not happy with the journalists working in the south," Mr Ezekiel said.
The 2005 peace deal guaranteed freedom of press in Sudan. But editors have regularly complained of print-runs being seized, articles censored and journalists coming under pressure over sensitive subjects.
NPC on Monday confirmed suspensions but insisted decisions had been taken for administrative not for political reasons.
A spokesman for regulator said papers had been suspended because their editors were not based in Khartoum, as was required by their licenses, further saying papers had also failed to send regulator copies of paper.
"The decisions are related to an administrative issue, not a political one," he said, adding the suspension would be lifted as soon as the editors complied with regulations.
Mr Bol rejected that newspaper licensing required editors from Khartoum, Sudan's capital, further indicating Sudan is one country and editor in chief has a right to have an office anywhere in the country.
He said that he was served a warning letter last week blaming him for employing southern journalists who were not registered in Khartoum.
Both papers are distributed nationally, but owned by businessmen from south Sudan, which became a semi-autonomous region after a 2005 peace deal ended two decades of civil war with the north government.
Under the peace deal, south is due to have a referendum on whether to secede in 2011.
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