Bridget Otoo, Manasseh Azure, Anas Aremeyaw Anas Among Most Abused Journalists

Anas Aremeyaw Anas, Bridget Otoo, Manasseh Azure (left to right)

iWatch Africa’s three-month-long data tracking of abuse and harassment directed at journalists within the digital ecosystem in Ghana has revealed that journalists Bridget Otoo, Manasseh Awuni Azure, Nana Ama Agyemang Asante, Anas Aremeyaw Anas were among the most abused and harassed in Ghana from the period of January 2020 – to March 2020.

Abuse of journalists within the digital space, especially in Ghana is increasing, a phenomenon, experts say could have a profound “chilling effect” on journalism and can ultimately negatively impact one of the tenets of a democratic society, press freedom.

The survey shows that journalists who report on contested social and political issues increasingly are targeted by those who do not share in the views espoused by the Journalists.

These culprits often resort to various social media platforms, online comment fora and other online means to unleash a tirade of abuse on their targeted personalities. There are instances where violent threats of death and rape are sent to journalists and rights activists.

iWatch Africa journalist abuse report, 2020

Over 600 separate instances of abuse and harassment online were collected and analysed by iWatch’s digital rights desk. The identified journalists and rights activists who were targeted in these instances of abuse were also affiliated with over 60 entities in Ghana.

Top ten most abused journalists in Ghana:

Our data revealed that Bridget Otoo, formerly of Media General, now a freelancer, was the most abused journalist during the period with 34 percent of abuses targeting her.

Investigative journalist, Manasseh Awuni Azure was also the second most abused journalist, with 17 percent of abuse targeting him within the period.

Other notable journalists who were victims of abuse included; Anas Aremeyaw Anas, Nana Ama Agyemang Asante, Serwaa Amihere, Ameyaw Debrah and Roland Affail Monney etc.

According to the 2018 International Press Institute (IPI) report, 31 percent of journalists tone down coverage of certain stories after being abused and harassed online, while 15 percent drop their stories altogether.

Source: iWatch Africa survey data, 2020

In all, the data showed that 43 journalists and rights activists received at least one form of abuse online from January to March 2020 while close to forty percent of these abuses were also directed at female journalists in Ghana. Our data again confirmed the 2018 IPI research which said that “female journalists face an additional burden in that they are also attacked purely on the basis of their gender.”

source: iWatch Africa

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