The media and the war in Sudan

With the conflict in Sudan, Western media outlets have focused almost exclusively on the evacuation of British and American citizens

Joseph Thomas
3rd May 2023
Khartoum, Sudan's capital.
Until two weeks ago, many of us were not fully aware of the deteriorating and violent situation in Sudan. Even now that tensions have escalated into a civil war, the main media narrative has focused on the evacuation of British citizens from the country. There is a clear lack of interest from the media in what may devolve into another endless, atrocity-filled war. Civil war in Sudan serves as a good example of a shift to sensationalist style of reporting which lacks criticism of the government’s actions.

The government has made it clear that their focus is on getting British citizens out of the country. Unfortunately, up until Saturday 29th April this did not include foreign NHS staff. A sadly unsurprising eventuality given this government’s stance on migrant workers. 

Certainly, narratives around war have changed drastically since the invasion of Ukraine. Establishment media has sold Ukraine as a palatable war with noble causes to fight for. This is an easy story to sell. Focus is on a classic enemy of the West, Russia, conducting an illegal war. This has allowed for a significant number of ‘positive’ stories about the war to emerge. The war in Sudan is a much more complex story that does not paint the West in as much of a positive light. 

To briefly summarise the situation, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), largely responsible for the Darfur genocide, are currently revolting against the Sudanese government. To further complicate this, the RSF were hired to fight in Yemen by Saudi Arabia. The UK actively funds this war through its arms deals with Saudi Arabia. 

This helps us understand why the portrayal of this war has been so unique. An open account of the situation paints Britain and the West in a more negative manner. This narrative does not appeal to readers in an age of increasing sensationalism, leading to a lack of focus on a worsening war. Ultimately, the outlook on unbiased reporting is grim. 

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