Freelance investigative journalist, Manasseh Azure, says President Akufo-Addo has not lived up to his 2016 campaign claim of commitment to media freedom and respect for human rights.
According to him, limitations to the media’s fight against corruption, viz. threats, both verbal and physical attacks and murder in some extreme cases, is proof of the President’s failure in ensuring press freedom.
“It is unfortunate that all these are happening in the administration of President Akufo-Addo who was marketed to us as a staunch human rights campaigner.
“If President Akufo-Addo is re-elected in December, he should be mindful that, it is unacceptable for his record in press freedom to still be touted as the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law, which in fact, is an achievement by President J. A. Kufuor,” he noted.
The statement is in view of his belief that media houses that dedicate themselves to fighting corruption are subjected to external pressure and media owners who cannot stand it transfer the pressure to their journalists.
He maintains that a provision of protection for investigative or anti-corruption journalists is imperative to an unwavering dedication to the course.
“Whoever engages in the fight against corruption takes on a dangerous venture, whether the person is a journalist, politician, or a civil society activist.
The threat facing investigative journalists in Ghana is enormous. It has always been there but it has heightened in the past four years because the body language of the Akufo-Addo administration is that of viciousness and intolerance” he added.
The award-winning journalist noted this during a speech at the Baah-Wiredu memorial lecture on Thursday, where he also admonished the government to be proactive in averting detrimental effects of apathetic journalism.
“Acts like these do not only undermine media freedom but they also scar potential investigative journalists and corruption fighters away from joining what is generally becoming a thankless adventure.
“The lack of action and selective justice on the part of state institutions is another disincentive to the fight against corruption. Impact is the fuel that drives activism such as the fight against corruption. If you risk your life to expose corruption and the perpetrators are left untouched, it kills the motivation to continue to risk your life” he noted.