Recent war in Sudan has led to the closure of newspapers, publishing houses, TV and radio stations in most parts of the country, including the capital, Khartoum. The majority of journalists have lost their livelihood and sources of income.
To support the independent press in the country, the Sudanese Journalist Syndicate (SJS) and a British/Swedish development company Recall@k, created a digital platform and content system that provides enhanced transparency, traceability, and security in newsgathering. This will give hundreds of journalists the possibility to work.
The challenges and threats that journalists face in Sudan range from physical dangers in conflict zones to online harassment and disinformation campaigns. However, Henrik Eklund, CEO Recall@k, says that this new technology can play a crucial role in mitigating these threats and empowering journalists to continue their important work.
The platform includes individual mobile applications for journalists and offers tools to enhance their safety.
For example, it uses encryption to protect journalists' personal data, materials, and sources from surveillance. It also facilitates remote reporting so journalists can collect and structure stories, videos, text, and photos directly on their mobile devices and upload them to secure digital servers. However, it still allows content to be traced and controlled without exposing the original source, for example when a story is scrutinised by courts.
Reporters can also use real-time verification and fact-checking tools through peer-vetting to counter the spread of misinformation and ensure accuracy. The platform also includes a central desk for handling the stories and making them available for distribution or publishing.
The project is funded by a coalition of organisations dedicated to advancing democracy worldwide, with a particular focus on Sub-Saharan Africa. These supporters include entities from the European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Norway.
"The idea is to create an eco-system where journalists are paid for their work," says Tahir Elmuatasim, secretary of external affairs, Sudanese Journalists Syndicate (SJS).
"The long-term vision is that it will become a profitable and efficient model for the Sudanese Journalist Syndicate."