Critics of radio might continue to argue that the medium is ‘dead and buried’, but recent research seems to prove otherwise.
The latest survey commissioned by Internews has just found that radio remains the most accessible source of information in South Sudan.
Oil-rich but troubled South Sudan, the world’s newest country and Africa’s 54th nation, faces challenges such as extreme poverty, regional and ethnic conflict and lack of infrastructure.
Internews, a media NGO, said its First National Audience Media Survey provides a roadmap of the media environment and an understanding of how information flows among the people of South Sudan.
These people, Internews added, are in need of information in almost every area, from governance to public health.
This tangible proof about the supreme and incontestable power of radio provides a delicious food-for-thought for the medium’s critics, who could be forced to ‘exhume’ radio – where they buried it – and crown it champion of all media.
Some of the more significant findings from the South Sudan National Media Survey include the following, according to Internews:
• Radio remains the most accessible and trusted (by 70%) source of information for the vast majority of people in South Sudan.
• Males and younger generations have greater access to radio as well as to other technology-based sources of information.
• Computers and televisions remain largely insignificant to South Sudanese, nearly half of all respondents did not have immediate access to media devices or technologies of any kind.
• Radio listeners are disproportionately male, younger and better-educated. There is a need to expand access to other groups, particularly women.
• Despite the popularity of radio as an information source, just over half of South Sudanese are non-listeners, largely because they do not own or have access to a radio.
• Many people get their information by relying solely on their personal social networks and via face-to-face communication.
• Community-based radio stations in rural areas consistently top the local market over any other station within their individual broadcast ranges.
• In general, radio listeners show a strong preference for news programs with a particular focus on local and national news.
Photo: A radio studio in South Sudan. Credit: Afronline.org