Freelance journalist, Manasseh Azure Awuni, has said that it is becoming increasingly scary to undertake Investigative Journalism in the country.
Speaking on Ghana Connect on Joy FM Friday, he said this is because of the recent attacks on journalists in the country.
“It is becoming scarier because of recent happenings. We all know that wherever you live, if you wake up in the morning and someone is murdered in your vicinity, fear will grip everybody in the community. People are afraid to lose their lives or face attacks and threats while investigating”, he told Evans Mensah, host of the show.
According to the Best Investigative Journalist of the Year-2017 (West Africa Media Excellence Award), some people, who have commended him on his work or shown interest in Investigative Journalism have, at one point or another, told him that the fear associated with the work has held them back.
“If journalists see colleagues like Ahmed Suale face threats, get murdered and after two years there has been no justice, people will be hesitant to take Investigative Journalism as a career,” the editor of TheFourthEstate said.
Manasseh Azure stated that consequently, there are only a handful of Investigative Journalists in the country and many media houses shy away from the specialty.
“If you realise that some people can go to ModernGhana.com offices with guns, abduct two of the reporters, cover their heads with polythene, take them somewhere, maltreat them, and the only thing we know is that they published some terrible news items about some government official and they were made to delete it. Certainly, there will be fear in the community of journalism,” he further explained.
His comment comes after National Security operatives detained Citi FM Journalist Caleb Kudah last Tuesday, for allegedly filming state vehicles on the premises of the National Security Ministry. He was later released after questioning.
However, Caleb on Wednesday revealed that he was slapped multiple times during his interrogation despite pleading to be released after he admitted to the assertion.
Following his account, the National Security Ministry stated that it had initiated investigations into the alleged assault.
In a statement signed by the Chief Director of the Ministry, Lt. Col. Ababio Serebour (RTD.), the Ministry said, “we take with all seriousness the allegations of manhandling of the two journalists during the interrogations.”
Manasseh Azure stated that because of such reports, many loved ones have advised him to be cautious when carrying out his duties.
“My family sometimes dissuade me from continuing with Investigative Journalism. This has a psychological toll on you. It is very difficult to go against the people who love you so much. This work we do if you die, your media house is not going to collapse. God forbid, but if Caleb had been killed, Citi FM would be doing its programmes,” he stated.
Meanwhile, a final year student of journalism, Theodore, who was also a panelist on the show, said that following the recent attacks, he and his friends are wondering whether or not their choice of journalism as a career is a good one.
Theodore told Evans Mensah that as an editor of a school newspaper, he has been receiving threats for investigating alleged corruption by the Student Representative Council (SRC) and Management of the school.
“To see senior journalists being confronted with such level of assault makes it tough for us to decide on choosing journalism as a career.”
“To see Caleb, who is one of the funniest persons on live TV unable to express himself well because of the pain he’s feeling, makes it difficult as a final year student who is completing his course in October this year, to decide whether I really want to be in the media space and do Investigative Journalism,” he said.
He noted that the discouragement does not only come from what has happened to Caleb but various cases that they have heard about so far. Especially, the case of reporters of ModernGhana.com who were accosted in 2020 and taken somewhere nobody knows about.
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