Limited Internet access across South Sudan means that only few people living in Juba and major towns and the diaspora are able to access digital media. Some media organisations manage to have a presence online, but government censorship has hindered them as a source of news and information for the population. Excessive government control and a violent approach in dealing with journalists and media institutions, have not only discouraged critical digital reporting, but also citizen journalism. Access to the various vibrant online news sites and blogs has been blocked in South Sudan. Sudan Tribune, Gurtong Trust and Radio Tamazuj are digital outlets broadcasting and publishing news and information, but their reporting, which provides a critical balance of news, is only accessible to the South Sudanese of the diaspora. As of 2015, among the South Sudanese who use Internet to access digital media services for news and information, Sudan Tribune was consulted by 42 percent of the people surveyed. Other popular websites were Eye Radio (31 percent) and BBC News (23 percent). As of 2018, Eye Radio, Hotinjuba, Voice of America (VOA) and SBS Dinka were the most popular digital media services accessible from within the country.
The International Telecommunication Unit (ITU) estimated a 12 percent Internet penetration in South Sudan in 2017, while other research findings, such as the 2015 Internews survey, indicated that the average Internet use was much higher when only the capital Juba was considered. The survey indicated a higher Internet usage in the former Central Equatorial state - where the capital is situated at 23 percent compared to the national average of 9 percent of the population in 2015. The survey further indicated that among those with Internet access, 53 percent accessed Internet at home and 47 percent accessed from the offices. When it comes to gender gap in Internet use and access to digital media, only 5 percent of women in five states of South Sudan used the Internet to access news and updates compared to 14 percent of men. Male youths are the most likely to have used Internet (17 percent) while adult women (3 percent) are the least likely.
DataReportal (2019) indicated that as of January 2019, the Internet penetration rate in South Sudan had grown 0.5 percent year on year between 2018 and 2019 and currently stands at 17 percent equal to 2.23 million users. Mobile Internet users represent 16 percent of the population or 2.13 million users, meaning that roughly 95 percent of Internet users access it through mobile phones. Levels of education affect how the South Sudanese use the Internet. The Internews survey indicated that only 1 percent of those with no education have ever used the Internet compared to 16 percent of those with some level of education.