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African journalism thrives amid persistent online threats, report says

Despite tiny budgets and persistent online threats, digital media entrepreneurs are creating breakthrough news and making a massive influence on their communities, according to new worldwide research.

The research, Inflection Point International, was launched by SembraMedia, a non-profit that promotes entrepreneurial journalists, in cooperation with the global charitable organisation Luminate.

In a report published just a month after journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their achievements in defending the freedom of speech and upholding democracy, the researchers discovered that more than 85 per cent of the media interviewed had contributed to significant political and societal changes.

The same goes for journalists in Africa who report on civic involvement, criminal investigations, and changes in the rule of law. On average, they reported on solutions and investigative journalism, compared to 15 per cent in Asia.

Reacting to the development, Director, Africa of Luminate, Abdul Noormohamed said: “This report shines a light on a new generation of creative and courageous media entrepreneurs, developing solutions to Africa’s social and economic challenges and strengthening the workings of democracy and issues of governance.”

The report found that 57 per cent of the African digital newsrooms polled had won national prizes, and 28 per cent had won international accolades. They did so despite persistent hostility, with almost a third reporting cyber assaults on their news outlets.

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