Former Multimedia employee who is now a freelance journalist Manasseh Azure Awuni has lashed out at the Akufo-Addo government over its handling of the threat received by late Tiger Eye journalist Ahmed Suale even before his death.
The journalist said the government is quick to arrest other people for issuing threats but has so far failed to deal decisively with “someone” [referring to Kennedy Agyapong] who threatened a journalist someone threatened a journalist, who was later killed.
Mr. Azure Awuni argued that that someone “put a photograph of the undercover journalist on television and ordered whoever saw him to attack him and he would pay. He even mentioned where the undercover journalist lived. Nothing was done to him even though the threats were viral”.
“Ahmed Hussein-Suale, the journalist, was shot and killed after those threats. And nothing has happened to the one who issued the threat.” He said.
Mr. Azure Awuni said in Ghana today “many journalists are living in fear but are too afraid to even mention it.”
He was writing in response to claims by Information Minister designate that government was unaware Manasseh Azure Awuni left the country based on threats on his life.
Mr. Azure Awuni said Mr. Oppong Nkrumah should change his priority.
“So, Mr. Oppong Nkrumah, your priority should be how journalists will not only be safe but also FEEL SAFE to practise our trade in Ghana. We consider you to be one of our own. Your competence is not in question. But your effort at promoting the independence, freedom, and safety of journalists has been abysmal.
And when people claim the attacks are increasing because of irresponsible journalism, tell them that irresponsible journalism has always been there. Tell them that the most irresponsible media house in the past four years has not been attacked because it is aligned with the governing party, the NPP. So irresponsible journalism, as condemnable as it is, cannot be the reason for the intolerance of the government.
There are avenues to deal with journalistic infractions. They do not include death threats, physical attacks, killings by unknown gunmen, arrests, detention, and alleged torture by National Security operatives, as we’ve seen in the past four years.” He wrote.
He advised the government to do better in dealing with threats against journalist.
“The scariest part is a perception that if the person who attacks a journalist is a member of your governing party, then that journalist should forget about ever getting justice. This perception is scary, but those who hold that view may not be wrong.”