We endure it until we grow a thick skin
Presented by Dr Temple Uwalaka and Fred Amadi
Monday September 5, 2022
There is increasing evidence of digital harassment of journalists around the world. In many newsrooms around the world, safety issues have become the hot button concerns of both the journalists and the media houses. Recent attacks against journalists have shown that anti-press violence is exacerbating as there has been a noticeable movement beyond trolling and other digital harassment practices to a more insidious and weightier pattern of violence (e.g., burning of media houses and physical assault of journalists). While some studies have commenced looking into online harassment of journalists, many have focussed on the gendered aspects of the attacks. This paper adopts an encompassing approach and discusses the spread of and motivations for online and offline harassment of journalists in Nigeria. Using interview responses from journalists in Nigeria, the paper appraises digital and offline harassment experiences of Nigerian journalists. Reflecting on both the history of anti-press violence focused on journalists in Nigeria and the impact of more recent trends, this paper reflects on the influence that press harassment has in deepening mob censorship of the press in Nigeria and the cascading adverse effect it has on journalistic products in Nigeria.
Temple Uwalaka lectures at the School of Arts and Communication, University of Canberra. His research interests include digital activism, digital journalism, political marketing, and the use of online and mobile media to influence political change.
Fred Amadi is a professor of Communication Arts at the Rivers State University Port Harcourt, Nigeria. His research interests include critical discourse analysis (CDA), semiotics, Meta communication and methodological activism.