The media outlets in Sierra Leone has some limits. They are influenced by different key issues like the democratization process, economic conditions, political conditions and others. As a result, the media outlets are to consider different issues to continue their operation in the country. The number of media outlets has increased than past days for some reasons as well. Now a smart number of media outlets are available in the country including newspapers, television, radio and the internet. Besides, the media outlets have expanded their wings across the country. The traditional media outlets, particularly the print media, in the country have a long history.
The country became a journalist hub in the 18th century. A good number of journalists used to visit the country who visited the African region. And the printing press was deployed here in the 19th century. But the print media industry had a fall. It happened for the application of radio in the country. And the trend is still continued there. The readership of newspapers is lower in the country and it happened for the lower literacy in Sierra Leone. Actually, the illiteracy rate is higher in the country for several reasons. Political instability and poverty could largely be made responsible for the lower literacy rate. Moreover, the newspapers are not available across the country. And a bunch of young people is the regular readers of the newspapers.
The media outlets in the country run their operation in the country using a couple of languages. English is a widely used language there and almost all the media outlets have their English versions. Even, some of the media outlets have their own websites in the English language. But radio has occupied the position of the most popular media. And this broadcast outlet is available across the country. An estimate says that around 85 percent population have their access to radio outlets.
Though the media outlets were supposed to be free, the government has some control over them. The right of speech is restricted to some extent. When the media outlets try to express freely, they are punished with several types of punishments and the cases of imprisonments are also found. Some issues are considered as taboo in the country and the media outlets are not supposed to discuss on them. So, when journalists try to expose those, they become the subject of violence. Hence, the media outlets do not create trouble for them.
The country has around 15 operational newspapers and they are mostly run by private initiatives. But the readership being lower, the newspapers are not available out of the major cities. And they provide a wide number of generalized issues to the readers. But most of the newspapers maintain a sense of self-censorship. They do not discuss the tabooed matters in public. They have their outlets in different languages and English is the key one.
There are two television stations are currently available across the country and they cater the needs of the audiences. The television channels provide some interesting news and information for their audiences across the nation. The television programs include news, events, shows, dramas, and others. But all the people in the country do not have their access to television.
Over 20 radio stations are available in Sierra Leone. And this is the most trusted medium to get news and information. The radio stations are available in several languages and they come up with various types of contents for the nationwide audience. Since the majority of the people are illiterate, they prefer to listen to radio than reading newspapers.
Besides, the use of the internet is also prevalent in the country. A good number of internet users are available here and thus the internet-based media outlets have their bright future in the country.