Dabanga – Media for a democratic Sudan
Dabanga is an independent, Sudanese news and information broadcaster. Founded in 2008 to report on the Darfur crisis, Dabanga has expanded to provide coverage of all corners of the country. It reaches over 2.3 million people through shortwave radio and about 1 million through satellite television on a daily basis*.
Via shortwave radio, satellite television and online platforms, Dabanga reaches a wide and diverse audience, and has a particular strength in serving marginalised and hard-to-reach communities. Years of tireless reporting on civil war, health epidemics, and human rights abuses have earned Dabanga a strong reputation as a trusted source of local news.
In 2019, Sudanese political history was made as the ‘people’s revolution’ brought about the end to the repressive 30-year al-Bashir led regime.
Now, with Sudan on a (fragile) path to democracy, Dabanga is committed to serving as a vital information and communication loop between citizens and those in power. Dabanga’s programming is focused on educating and informing people about democracy, providing a space for informed debate, and holding those in power to account.
From Sudan to Amsterdam (and back again)
Exiled by Sudan’s former regime, Dabanga was set up in Amsterdam with operational support from Free Press Unlimited. Because it was too dangerous to work from Sudan, the founders of Dabanga left their homes to settle in the Netherlands.
Operating the newsroom remotely has afforded Dabanga freedom, and a unique style of working. Editors communicate with a vast network of Sudanese sources, stringers and WhatsApp tipoffs to collect, verify, and report the news. Via shortwave radio, Dabanga is able to broadcast back into Sudan without risk of being shut down.
Post-revolution, Dabanga is now transitioning back to Sudan - growing its team of Sudan-based reporters and stringers to offer grassroots media coverage of social, economic, and political issues. Formerly exiled Dabanga staff have also been able to return to Sudan – many for the first time in more than a decade.
Yet, repressive elements of the former regime have not disappeared, and security risks remain. Dabanga will continue to adapt to the unfolding situation, while maintaining an unwavering commitment to broadcasting independent and accurate news.
For many years, Free Press Unlimited has enabled Dabanga’s team of professional Sudanese journalists to work freely from studios in Amsterdam. However, Free Press Unlimited is a media development organisation and not a publisher. From the outset, Dabanga had the wish to - when feasible - become an independent media house. Therefore, both organisations have worked towards complete autonomy in the areas of finance, management, and facilities for Dabanga.
In 2021, the vision of independence was reached. Dabanga registered as an independent organisation, with a supervisory board and new offices. Free Press Unlimited and Dabanga will continue to collaborate on projects supporting press freedom and media capacity in Sudan.
You can support Dabanga with a donation here.
*These figures are from an Audience Survey dating from 2017.