Index 2024
149/ 180
Score : 35.73
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator
Index 2023
148/ 180
Score : 40.83
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator

The military coup of 25 October 2021 marked the return of information control and censorship. Since the outbreak of fighting between the regular army under Gen. Burhan and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces under Gen. “Hemetti” on 15 April 2023, threats, attacks and abuses against journalists have become much more frequent, forcing many of them to flee to neighbouring countries.

Media landscape

Broadcast media, mainly state-controlled, are the main source of information. They include the Sudan National Radio Corporation and Sudan National Broadcasting Corporation, which act as government mouthpieces. Conditions for the media and journalists worsened after the 25 October 2021 coup and the media became deeply polarised. Critical journalists have been arrested, and the Internet is often shut down in order to block the flow of information. Propaganda messages are broadcast by the state-owned media under the control of the military, as was the case under Omar al-Bashir’s regime (1989-2019). The media have been hit very hard by the civil war and many outlets have stopped operating.

Political context

After 20 years of military dictatorship and an attempt at democratic transition in 2019, the military coup by Gen. al-Burhan in 2021 jeopardised the recent and tentative progress with regard to press freedom. The Sudanese media regulator, the National Council for Press and Publication, is authorised to shut down critical publications without a court order. The Ministry of Information manages broadcasting licences in a highly politicised fashion. The civil war that began in April 2023 between the Sudanese Armed Forces (the regular army) of Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces under Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, known as  “Hemetti”, has exacerbated the situation of journalists, who are subjected to pressure, intimidation and attacks by the parties to the conflict.

Legal framework

Freedom of the press and access to information are guaranteed by the provisional constitution adopted in 2019. However, certain laws muzzle critical media. The 2020 Cybercrime Law limits journalists’ freedom, as does the 2009 Press and Publications Act, which gave the National Council for Press and Publication greater control over publications. Finally, the 2010 National Security Act criminalises publication of lies and “false information” and any content that “threatens public peace” or “weakens state prestige”. In a turning point in the defence of journalists, the media, and freedom of the press, an independent journalists’ union was re-established in August 2022, 33 years after the al-Bashir dictatorship muzzled the media.

Economic context

The allocation of state advertising to the media is based on cronyism and affinity with the government. Those that do not support government positions get no advertising. In the hope of improving their material and social conditions, some journalists feel they have to work with the military and armed movements. The pandemic had a big impact on the media, especially for women journalists, many of whom were laid off. The work of the media is hampered by frequent power cuts and by war damage to communications infrastructure, media premises and media equipment.

Sociocultural context

Sudan is a multicultural and multiethnic society where tolerance and coexistence are in jeopardy. Ethnic groups’ sensitivities are heightened. Accusations over perceived insults are increasing, with the media frequently a target. Interference by religious groups, which use their networks to defend their interests, are contributing to worsening conditions for journalists. The revolution came to represent greater outspokenness on social media, but poorly controlled and excessive, it fuels racism and misogyny, focusing on women and ethnic and sexual minorities.


Threats to journalists have intensified in recent years with the emergence of new militias and armed movements. During demonstrations, they are systematically attacked and insulted, or even arrested and tortured, by both the regular army and the Rapid Support Forces.  Journalists who criticise the authorities or publish compromising documents are monitored. Women journalists, in particular, are subjected to intimidation, threats or reprisals. Those who harass and attack journalists are protected by the authorities and enjoy total impunity. The Sudanese Journalists Network and the Media and Human Rights Network are civil mechanisms that document violations. Since the start of the civil war on 15 April 2023, the premises of some media outlets have been attacked and looted, and attacks and abuses against journalists have increased significantly, forcing many of them to flee to neighbouring countries.