July 1, 2014

Flaming the Messenger: A Look at Umar Cheema’s Twitter Traffic

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Investigative journalist Umar Cheema has endured kidnapping, torture, and intense criticism in his native Pakistan. Following his support of colleague Hamid Mir, who was nearly assassinated in April, Cheema reports that surveillance and harassment of him and his colleagues have markedly increased.

Cheema Tweets 2The award-winning Cheema, founder of the Centre for Investigative Reporting in Pakistan, was recently elected to the board of directors of the Global Investigative Journalism Network. He received among the largest vote totals of any candidate, with strong support from every continent. But look at what he has to deal with at home.

Cheema has an impressive 123,000 Twitter followers, and in late June tweeted news of his election to the GIJN board. He was greeted with many congratulations but also a barrage of online attacks. Here’s a sampling of what one of Pakistan’s top investigative journalists now faces on a regular basis:

cheema tweets 4Cheema tweets 3



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