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Overwhelming majority of journalists in Ukraine faced cyber-bullying – IMI research

27.08.2019, 15:36
88% of Ukrainian media professionals have been facing some kind of cyber pressure (bot attacks, threatening e-mails, bullying, psychological pressure and so on). Such are the findings of an anonymous survey made by “The Institute of Mass Information” NGO amid journalists in all regions of Ukraine*. According the results of this survey, 87% of those who had been facing the cyber-bullying, related it to their professional activity. As to the kinds of online pressure, the respondents said that the most frequently they had been targeted by the bot attacks or trolls (42% of respondents). At the second position among the cyber threats there have been revealed facts of hacking into accounts (15%), at the third position there were found out messages containing threats, as 14% respondents mentioned it. More uncommonly, the media professionals faced eavesdropping (10%) and phishing (7%). This survey showed the cyber bullying overwhelmingly took the form of flaming (38% of respondents) and denigration/defamation on the Internet (20% of respondents). Among other types of cyber bullying, 14% of media professionals claimed to be targeted with harassment, 13% claimed of alienation, and 7% of respondents were victims of imposture on the Internet (when the malefactor cast himself as the targeted person, by using his password to account in social networks, blog, e-mail, instant messaging system and others and afterwards it is translated into some malicious communication). In a whole, 36% of the online bullying incidents happened after the journalists had posted some messages in social networks and 31% of such incidents happened after they published journalistic stories and 25% of incidents happened after they made comments in the social networks. In the opinion of respondents, the overwhelming majority of persecutors are bots (43%), or protagonists of the journalistic investigations (21%). It is curious to see, 13% of journalists who had been questioned pointed at the authority officials as those who exerted (or commissioned) online bullying. *The survey was made by means of anonymous questionnaire-based survey. In total, 195 replies from the journalists have been received, among them 81% were journalists from all regions of Ukraine, 19% were journalists based in Kyiv. The survey was made during the period from June-July 2019 року.
  1. flaming : is the act of posting or sending offensive messages over the Internet. These messages, called "flames," may be posted within online discussion forums or newsgroups, or sent via e-mail or instant messaging programs.
  2. denigration: spreading of some depreciatory untruthful information by means of computer technologies. It could be text messages and photos and songs depicting the victim in a damaging and sometimes sexual way.
  3. Internet harassment: continuous devastating tirades: the most frequently it is repeated insulting messages targeting the victim (as for instance, hundreds of text-messages sent to mobile phone, constant calls) resulting in personal channels of communications.
  4. Alienation: account blocking, removal from community groups, list of unsolicited e-mails and so on.)
(By Lyubov Naydenova, deputy director of the Institute for social and political psychology of the National academy of educational sciences of Ukraine, PhD in psychology, correspondent member of the Academy of educational sciences, ,Professor)      
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