Some journalists in the Upper West Region have expressed concern about their security and the threat to general media practice following the killing of investigative journalist Ahmed Hussein-Suale early this month by unknown gunmen in Medina, Accra.
The gruesome act and other reported cases of unwarranted attacks on journalists across the country would lead to docility in the Ghanaian media fraternity, the journalists told Ghana News Agency in separate interviews.
It would also create “fear and panic” and impact negatively on those already or aspiring to go into investigative journalism to expose ills in the society.
The gruesome murder of Hussein-Suale, an ally of ace investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ Tiger Eye PI investigative team, has attracted local and international condemnation including the United Nations.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo described the murder as “heinous crime” and has since charged the security services to act swiftly and bring the perpetrators to face the full rigors of the law.
“I expect the police to bring to book, as soon as possible, the perpetrators of this heinous crime” he said.
The UN also called “for a prompt, thorough and transparent investigation into Mr Hussein-Suale’s death and a full accountability for those responsible”.
A Paris-based Reporters without Boarders as well as a US Congressman have backed calls for an independent probe into the killing.
Head of News at Ghana Broadcasting Corporation in Upper West, Mr Emmanuel Mensah-Abludo, said the attack was an attempt to “put fear into journalist to make them shy away from uncovering social ills”.
He said the killing of Hussein-Suale was an indication of the deteriorating human rights and heightened insecurity in the country.
The journalism profession is call to duty with its associated risks, he said: “We cannot abandon our service to the nation because of criminals.”
Mr Posper Kuorsoh, GNA Chief Reporter in the Region, noted that the act could perpetuate corruption and frighten upcoming journalists intending to pursue their career in investigative journalism.
“Such killings will also prevent other journalists from digging deep to uncover rot perpetuated by powerful people in society,” he said: “In effect, journalists will fear investigating the so call big fishes”.
Ms Mavis Okyere, Assistant Head of Programmes at Radio Progress in Wa, called on government and media regulators to introduce stringent measures to protect journalists.
The incident, she noted, was a wakeup call on the lawmakers to pass the long-waited Ghana’s Right to Information (RTI) bill into law for ease of access to public information and to effectively fight growing phenomenon of corruption.
“Journalism is helping to expose the ills in society and hence the state must put in place structures to protect the media”.
Daily Graphic Newspaper Reporter Mr Michael Quaye described the murder as a development that has the tendency to cause other journalists to “shun controversial” issues and try to be on the “safe side” due to increasing insecurity.
“It [the killing of Husein-Suale] could embolden rascals to deal with journalists who poke their noses into private matters,” he added.
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