iWatch Africa petitions CID over online attacks on Manasseh Azure, Afia Pokua

iWatch Africa petitions CID over online attacks on Manasseh Azure, Afia Pokua

A non-governmental media and policy organisation, iWatch Africa has petitioned the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service over consistent online attacks on Ghanaian journalists, Manasseh Azure Awuni and Afia Pokua.

In its petition, iWatch Africa named some three individuals behind such attacks.

The petition comes on the back of investigations conducted by iWatch Africa on online abuses experienced by journalists and human rights activists in Ghana.

“iWatch Africa has officially submitted a complaint against three individuals who threatened journalists; Manasseh Azure Awuni and Afia Pokua online to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police in Accra for further investigation.”

“We are of the view that the individuals captured in the petition to the Police CID violated the Criminal Code, 1960 (ACT 29) Section 17—regarding provisions relating to the use of threats in Ghana,” iWatch Africa noted in a statement after presenting the petition.

The petition according to the non-governmental media was received by the Director-General of the Police CID, COP Isaac Ken Yeboah, on Friday, May 22, 2020.

This forms part of iWatch’s effort to counter the online abuse of journalists and rights activists in Ghana.

“The names of the abusers are withheld due to the ongoing investigations into the case by the Police CID. iWatch Africa reiterates its readiness to assist the police in all their investigations into the matter. We believe that there is an urgent need to sanitize our cyber-ecosystem free from people who hide under anonymity and abuse innocent citizens,” iWatch Africa added in the statement.

Below is the full statement from iWatch Africa

iWATCH AFRICA PETITIONS POLICE CID OVER INDIVIDUALS WHO THREATENED JOURNALISTS ONLINE

iWatch Africa has officially submitted a complaint against three individuals who threatened journalists; Manasseh Azure Awuni and Afia Pokua online to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police in Accra for further investigation.

The petition which was presented to the Director-General of the Police CID, COP Isaac Ken Yeboah, on Friday, May 22nd is part of iWatch’s broader effort to counter online abuse of journalists and rights activists in Ghana.

Over 600 separate instances of abuse and harassment online were collected and analysed by iWatch’s digital rights desk within the first quarter of this year.

Abuse of journalists and rights activists within the digital space 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.

We are of the view that the individuals captured in the petition to the Police CID violated the Criminal Code, 1960 (ACT 29) Section 17—regarding provisions relating to the use of threats in Ghana.

Their names are currently withheld due to the ongoing nature of the case and we are ready and prepared to assist the police in all their investigations.

iWatch Africa remains committed to developing protocols for reporting online abuse of journalists and rights activists; as well as community management and content forum moderation.

Journalists continue to play a crucial role in deepening Ghana’s democracy and we all have a responsibility to protect them.

Signed

Gideon Sarpong

Director, iWatch Africa

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