Digital media

Like other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the Central African Republic has been switching to the Internet since the late 1990s. At that time, Internet connection was almost non-existent and practically reserved for a fringe category of the Central African population. However, in the years 2000-2005, the first private static blogs dealing with the country’s information appeared, such as Sangonet, Centrafrique presse and Journal de Bangui. Created by individuals who have no journalism knowledge, these blogs are mostly based abroad. The quality of their content remains questionable and they are rather more similar to political propaganda sites.

Traditional written media, due to a lack of technical and financial resources, are almost absent on the web. Only one daily newspaper from Bangui, Le Confident, manages to keep a small presence on the Internet but its content is not often updated. It was not until the end of 2012 that a multitude of blogs and websites dealing with continuous information on the CAR appeared. This is the case of sites such as RJDH, La nouvelle Centrafrique, Corbeau News Centrafrique, the site of Radio Ndeke Luka and many others. Among these Central African sites, only Corbeau News Centrafrique, Radio Ndeke Luka and RJDH have a consistent readership and cover the news of the entire national territory through their correspondents all over the administrative provinces.

Even if access to Internet connection is still very limited in the interior of the country (10 percent penetration rate according to the Central African Telecommunications Regulatory Agency), people in rural areas, particularly civil servants, international organisations, armed groups and students still have access to information published online in real time. However, the content published on websites, which is exclusively in French and not in the native Sango language, is a serious obstacle for many people. In addition, there are serious funding problems: Advertisements and announcements are rare online. If there are any, they are reserved for sites close to the government in power. Many advertisers do not want to deal with sites that criticise the government, for fear of being accused in turn of supporting troublemakers. This has a negative impact on the quality of their online content. CAR Internet users are very suspicious of any information published on Central African sites and turn to international sites such as RFI, BBC, AFP, Reuters, CNC, etc to gather information.