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Online journalism is redefining the media industry in Sudan

Part 1: What’s leading to the change?

Sudanese citizen journalism is an extremely significant example of an alternative media dimension created by new technology, ending a traditional monopoly. It marks the transition from one era to another. In the wake of the country’s recent shuffles in the media and journalism industry, some questions are looming large.

Media reporting in Sudan is a complicated business, fraught with risks for mainstream and alternative media. There are many sensitive issues that frequently do not receive adequate coverage. This has been the case since the country’s independence in 1953. Although there are numerous legislative measures in place, Sudan has a culture of self-censorship that makes legal repression redundant.

According to Herbert (2001), the importance of culture in determining the nature of a national press or media cannot be underestimated. Furthermore, the ownership of the Sudanese media narrows certain possibilities in the name of security.

In Herbert’s view, all the major newspapers or broadcasting stations are either owned by one of the ruling coalition parties or by financial interests closely associated with the government in one way or another. Editorial decisions are, inevitably, politically influenced, and politics cannot be easily separated from the media.

However, though everything changed at the outset of the digital era, Sudan maintained its legacy of modernising itself into an information-rich knowledge economy come into play.

In the second part, I will highlight dichotomies of citizen journalism based on prominent theories in this regard.

Ahmed Malik is Senior Account Manager at Cicero & Bernay Communication Consultancy, an independent PR agency headquartered in Dubai offering new-age public relations consultancy to the UAE and across the MENA region. | www.cbpr.me