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Sudan's largest newspaper shut says director

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Sudanese journalists hold slogans which read in Arabic "Press freedom or no press" and " Suspension of Al-Tayyar daily is against the constitution and law" in Khartoum on July 17, 2012AFP/File

Sudan's most popular newspaper, which has been a regular critic of a controversial government decision to cut fuel subsidies, has been ordered to stop publishing, its director said on Sunday.

The move against Al-Intibaha comes as journalists complain of worsening censorship since the fuel-subsidy decision and resulting price increases sparked deadly protests last week.

Al-Intibaha is run by President Omar al-Bashir's uncle, Al-Tayeb Mustafa.

"Yesterday the state security service told us that our publishing was suspended for an indefinite time, and without any reason," Mustafa told AFP.

The Sudanese Journalists' Network, an unofficial group of reporters who demand freedom of speech, announced Saturday that its members were stopping work because of official attempts to censor coverage of the protests.

The group claims 400 members.

Censorship in Sudan typically worsens during periods of political crisis.

On Friday, authorities shut the Khartoum offices of pan-Arab satellite channels Al-Arabiya and Sky News Arabia, the networks said.

Sudan ranks near the bottom, at 170 out of 179, in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 2013 World Press Freedom Index.