Sudan profile - Media

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Newspaper reader in SudanImage source, AFP
Image caption,
Private papers enjoy more freedom than the state media

Sudanese broadcasting is highly restricted and state TV and radio reflect official policy.

An initial opening-up in the media after long-time President Omar al-Bashir was removed in April 2019 was quickly reversed, with restrictions imposed on media by the Transitional Military Council (TMC).

Sudan ranks among the bottom 10 countries in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) annual press freedom index.

RSF says the government is "exceptionally hostile" to media freedom. The national intelligence agency has clamped down on non-state and opposition newspapers, often by seizing their print runs.

RSF says persecution of the media during anti-government protests at the end of 2018 was "unprecedented in scale".

The Ministry of Information directly runs state TV and radio. Satellite TV is widely watched and pan-Arab stations are popular.

Radio is very popular. The state runs the main networks and there is a handful of private FM radios - most of them focusing on entertainment or Islam.

Netherlands-based Radio Dabanga aims to reach listeners in Darfur via shortwave. Radio Tamazuj, also operating from the Netherlands, targets audiences on the Sudan-South Sudan border.

Newspaper circulation figures have been falling steadily while cover prices have risen.

Sudan had 11.8 million internet users by the end of 2018, comprising around 28% of the population (InternetWorldStats).

Freedom House says the internet is a relatively open space for free expression, but that economic problems have placed cost restrictions on online access.

Curbs on traditional media mean that citizens often rely on online outlets and social media for uncensored news. WhatsApp is a popular destination.

Sudan filters online content that is deemed to be blasphemous or morally damaging, says Freedom House. The state can also block any site that it believes poses a threat to national security.

Activists and ordinary internet users have faced arrest for their social media activities. A 2018 cyber crime law introduced penalties for spreading fake news online.

The press

  • Al-Ra'y al-Amm (The Public Opinion) - private, daily
  • Al-Jareeda (The Newspaper) - opposition-leaning
  • Al-Dar - popular tabloid daily
  • Sudan TV - government-run, also available via satellite
  • Al-Shuruq (Sunrise) - private, based in Dubai, via satellite
  • Blue Nile TV - jointly owned by private shareholders and the government, via satellite
  • Sudania 24 - private, via satellite
  • Omdurman TV - private, via satellite
  • Sudan Radio - government-run, national and regional networks in Arabic, English and other languages
  • Hala FM - private, music-based Khartoum station
  • Capital FM - private, Khartoum English-language station
  • Radio Dabanga - operated by Dutch NGO, targets Darfur
  • Radio Tamazuj - Netherlands-based, for Sudan/South Sudan border area