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Sierra Leone Communication Profile
Radio: Radio is by far Sierra Leone’s most accessible and used communication medium; seventy-eight percent of the population has household access to a radio, and nearly all of those who have access rely on batteries to power their radio.
Mobile Communications: Survey findings and statistics provided by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) show that mobile telephony is the second most accessed media or communication device in Sierra Leone behind radio.
Newsprint: The number of newspapers publishing in Sierra Leone has grown briskly in recent years despite a fragile economy and high illiteracy. By the end of 2009, 58 newspapers were registered with the Independent Media Commission (IMC), up from only 10 in 2000.
Internet: Internet use in Sierra Leone can be described as nascent at best. In 2008, there were only about 14,000 internet users in a population of 5.7 million people, according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
Television: While the radio industry has thrived since the end of Sierra Leone’s 11-year civil war, the television market has stagnated. Poverty continues to be TV’s largest barrier to growth.
Media Environment: Sierra Leone's media environment features a plethora of regional and community media outlets providing both entertainment and important news and information.
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Age and Media Use in Sierra Leone: Youth (15-24) in Sierra Leone seem to enjoy more socio-economic advantages and this gives them more access to media and communications technologies. Very few respondents in our Sierra Leone survey said they had a secondary education, but younger respondents were more likely to say they have obtained this level.
Structural Barriers Limit Women's Media Use: Although overall media use and access is low in Sierra Leone, women face particularly arduous structural, educational and linguistic barriers. Read more to see how women and men differ in their media and communication habits in Sierra Leone.
Due to socio-economic differences there are clear disparities in media and ICT use between the four provinces of Sierra Leone. Residents of Western Area (which contains capital Freetown) are far more economically advantaged than their counterparts in the Eastern, Northern and Southern Province and show greater media and communications use.
Socio-Economic Status and Media use in Sierra Leone: Deprived of education and training opportunities and income generating activities during the ten year civil war that ended in 2002 in the survey 60 percent of respondents were self-identified as belonging to the low socio-economic status category.