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Sudanese authorities defended the seizure of more than a dozen newspapers, saying the practice would continue if publications were seen to threaten national security, Ashorooq television channel reported.

Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service confiscated the print runs of 14 newspapers on Monday, the channel, based in the capital, Khartoum, reported on its website. Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman said Sudan’s constitution and security law gives authorities the right to seize publications that fuel hatred or spread rumors, according to Ashorooq.

Sudan’s state-linked press council, which oversees the nation’s media, expressed its regret at the confiscations and said it would contact the presidency to resolve the issue, Ashorooq reported. Journalists staged a small protest in front of the council’s headquarters, it said.

Sudan is ranked 174 out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders’ press freedom index for 2015.

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