The online media usage is flourishing as consumers are hungry for alternative sources of information. The usage remains novel in its approach, but human rights and political activists are finding greater benefit from the free online space than official journalists. The Diaspora platforms update regularly, while the domestic television and radio stations and newspapers which now have online outlets, still don’t update their pages regularly. As of now, there are only a few generating revenue from online content as most of the advertisement is by individual initiatives.
According to the Internet World Site, in 2017 out of a total population of 41.5 million, 28.6 percent accessed the Internet and 7.1 percent were Facebook users, while 7.76 percent were using Twitter which became popular among young people during civil disobedience actions. WhatsApp has created a popular platform not just for news consumption and government critique, but a social gathering for many people across the country and around the world to share entertainment and family news. Some news outlets are distributing their news via WhatsApp to distribute news to their readers. In 2014, 93 percent of the mobile users in Sudan used WhatsApp to communicate and share content for a variety of reasons.
The step forward towards the usage of digital media is challenged by the regime’s interest and policies to control the online sphere as they are already controlling the traditional media. The regime has organised a systemic surveillance against the online writers and has arrested some bloggers, journalists and activists for producing content considered to be critical and threatening the national security. Journalists who were arrested confidentially shared their stories and stated that security staff read their emails and Facebook pages.
The Thomson Foundation Project Evaluation Report of 2016 found that a few of the National television and radio stations and some print media used the Internet for research or for publishing their content online. There are a few online newspapers such as Sudan Tribune, Change Now, Sudanese Online, Hurriyat and other activist platforms, but the majority of them are managed and operated outside of Sudan. Some of the journalists prefer to work for online media, but are concerned about the risk of working illegally and fear being arrested.