Deputy Information Minister, Pius Enam Hadzide says the notion that media freedom is under threat under the leadership of Akufo-Addo is “a figment of the imagination”.

“I think that the notion about the freedom of the media being under an attack is erroneous. It’s not happening anywhere. It’s a figment of the imagination,” he said.

Mr Hadzide said the media under the Akufo-Addo regime has been the most independent in the history of the country.

The comment comes on the heels of fresh attacks on journalists in the country including freelance investigative journalist Manasseh Azure Awuni who disclosed that he received a death threat following a piece he wrote on the 2020 December 7 elections and its outcome.

However, reacting to this on JoyFm’s Super Morning Show, Mr Hadzide blamed the occurrence on unprofessionalism on the part of some journalists in the country.

He stated that some journalists have failed to practice responsible journalism and this has amounted to a rise in threats and attacks on them.

“I think that the practice of mercenary and opinion journalism, where instead of reporting the facts, journalists report their interpretation of the facts is the challenge.

“Journalists have to take note of this challenge so that in their operations, they are guided that [per research] when people feel more and more dissatisfied with their work, not only do they lose trust in them, but they may also want to resort to other unorthodox means which may be criminal and deserve to be punished.”

He further argued that the practice of journalism is about reporting facts, as such, journalists must endeavour to refrain from expressing their personal opinions as facts in order to reduce the attacks.

“A journalist is expected to report facts. If he/she wants to do analysis, those are his/her opinions [and] opinion journalism is a concept on its own which is a deviation from the reportage of facts.

“When one superimposes his/her opinions and push them as the facts that is when you’re causing problems,” he said.

“It is clear and there’s a literature that safety and responsibility are two sides of the same coin and so as we speak about the safety of journalists we at the same point are talking about responsible journalism.

“Journalists need to also concede the research that shows that in countries where people feel that the journalists are becoming more and more irresponsible, attacks are on the rise,” he concluded.