South Sudan’s media and communications landscape

Source: Thu, 7 Dec 2017 12:52 PM
Humanitarian actors need to understand what communication channels are used and trusted by disaster affected communities. Photo: REACH/INTERNEWS
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by Chris Ford and Angela Rouse

In the rapidly changing context of South Sudan, accurate and timely information can save lives as people can be warned to flee, hide or regroup. Information also plays a crucial role in directing people toward appropriate humanitarian assistance.

In South Sudan, humanitarian organisations are already trying to harness existing communication channels to connect with disaster affected communities, for example through radio and SMS messaging. In order to choose the appropriate channels to do so and to improve two-way communication mechanisms and their overall Communication with Communities (CwC), humanitarian actors need to understand what communication channels are used and trusted by disaster affected communities.

To help reach an understanding of these issues, REACH and Internews, on behalf of the South Sudan CwC Working Group, conducted an assessment on the way displaced populations and the local populations in hard-to-reach areas access and process news and information in sudden onset emergency situations. REACH also explored the understudied topic of traditional forms of communication in South Sudan in order to produce a secondary data source for humanitarian actors who are interested in exploring how to incorporate traditional forms of communication as part of their two-way communication efforts. The work was undertaken as part of the DFID-funded Disasters and Emergencies Preparedness Programme (DEPP).

The result is a detailed Media Landscape Guide for South Sudan that captures information on the media and telecommunications landscape in the world’s youngest nation, as well as the news and information channels that are used and trusted the most by South Sudanese people.  The written guide goes further to provide insights into the traditional forms of communication still prevalent in South Sudan. This guide provides useful data for humanitarian organisations considering large scale information campaigns and feedback mechanisms. It explores both the opportunities and common barriers to accessing information such as limited access to technology, literacy, and trust.

The written guide is complemented by an online interactive database developed by the Thomson Reuters Foundation which allows users to explore South Sudanese media outlets via both a list view and a map view.

The written report can be downloaded below.

Go to the online guide

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