Communication in Sierra Leone: an analysis of media and mobile audiences

BBC Media Action has worked in Sierra Leone since 2007, using multiple platforms including radio, mobile, social media and interpersonal communication to address three key themes: governance and rights, health, and resilience and humanitarian response.

Publication date: April 2016

Author: Annabelle Wittels and Nick Maybanks

The media and communication sector in Sierra Leone has significantly diversified and decentralised since the end of the war in 2002, with the growth of emerging platforms such as mobile phones and the internet, and a proliferation of broadcasters on traditional platforms such as radio and TV. To provide accurate, up-to-date, nationally-representative data about how people use and access these platforms, BBC Media Action conducted a survey in late 2015 to understand how adults across Sierra Leone use and access radio, TV, newspapers, the internet and mobile phones.

The survey demonstrates that radio remains the most widely accessed broadcast platform, but access to mobile phones is now achieving a similar reach to radio. The report shows the significant potential for leveraging mobile platforms to reach audiences with media content. It provides an overview of access to these emerging and traditional communication platforms, the ways in which different demographics use these communication platforms and insights into information needs and audience profiles in Sierra Leone.