Whistleblowers Coalition, IPC Condemn Killing of Ghanaian Investigative Journalist

Whistleblowers Coalition, IPC Condemn Killing of Ghanaian Investigative Journalist

The Coalition for Whistleblowers Protection and Press Freedom (CWPPF), comprising 16 organisations and the International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos, have strongly condemn the brutal killing of Ghanaian undercover Journalist, Mr Ahmed Hussein-Suale, calling on the government to investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice. Mr Hussein-Suale before his demise was a member of the investigative

The Coalition for Whistleblowers Protection and Press Freedom (CWPPF), comprising 16 organisations and the International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos, have strongly condemn the brutal killing of Ghanaian undercover Journalist, Mr Ahmed Hussein-Suale, calling on the government to investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Mr Hussein-Suale before his demise was a member of the investigative journalism team working with Tiger Eye in Ghana. He was said to be driving on his way home on Wednesday when gunmen on a motorbike opened fire on his vehicle in Madina area of Accra, shooting him twice in the chest and once in the head.

His brutal murder in a country not known for the suppression media rights, came as a shock. Only one journalist has been killed in Ghana since 1992, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). The International Federation of Journalists also says eight journalists were killed in Africa in 2017.

The Whistleblowers Coalition fingers his death as “another attempt to incapacitate the press from performing the constitutionally guaranteed function and calls on the Ghanaian government to investigate this injustice and try the culprits to the full extent of the law- as chapter 12 of the Ghana constitution guarantees media pluralism and independence.”

Controversial Journalist, Mr Anas Aremeyaw Anas and his team which included the late Mr Hussein-Suale have taken on the Ghanaian government and exposed corruption in different sectors of the economy including the 2015 investigation that indicted several judges as taking bribes, forcing many of them to resign.

Their expose of bribe taking also compelled the dissolution of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) and the sacking of its former chairman, Mr Kwesi Nyantakyi who was pictured taking $65,000 (£48,000) from an undercover reporter pretending to be a businessman keen to invest in Ghanaian football. Nyantakyi was also removed from his position as vice-president of the Confederation of African Football and also membership of the FIFA Council. He was later banned for life and fined £390,000 by FIFA

The undercover investigation by controversial journalist Anas raised questions about the nature of football in Africa. His documentary, entitled When Greed and Corruption Become the Norm, was handed to authorities and publicly screened with the BBC Africa’s new investigations unit, Africa Eye, having an exclusive access to the footage.

It shows more than 100 football officials – most of them West African referees – receiving cash gifts, despite FIFA rules expressly forbidding it.

Among those caught on camera was also Kenyan referee, Adel Range Marwa, who was bound for the World Cup in Russia until he resigned after he was filmed receiving a $600 “gift”.

Prior to his death, his organisation had previously made a complaint to the Police after a threat by a Ghanaian Lawmaker, Mr Kennedy Agyapong who showed photograph of Anas on a private television channel and promised payment for supporters who took retribution against him.

Agyapong, a member of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) for Assin Central in south-central Ghana, has also publicly attacked people he says are working with Anas. “If you meet him (an alleged member of Anas’ team) anywhere, slap him mercilessly. Yes, I said, beat him,” Agyapong said in the local Twi language during the May 30, 2018 television appearance.

The CPJ in a statement on June 4th, 2018 called on Agyapong to stop threatening investigative journalist, Anas and those perceived as close to his undercover investigative film, “Number 12,” about corruption and football in Ghana.

Condemning the threat, CPJ Africa Program Coordinator, Angela Quintal says, “Anas Aremeyaw Anas and his team must be free to investigate and report on matters of public interest without fear of reprisal,” noting that “One month ago, Ghana hosted a UNESCO World Press Freedom Day event whose theme was ‘keeping power in check.’ The threats Anas and his team face demonstrate how difficult it can be to do just that.”

Anas’ identity remains unknown and he only appears in public in disguise. Images and speculation about his identity “tend to put the lives of other persons at risk,” the Ghana Association of Journalists (GJA) says in a statement.

The death of Mr. Husseini-Suale is the culmination of months of violent threats to members of staff of Tiger Eye, whose management had asked the world to prevail on Ghanaian authorities to guarantee their safety and allow them carry out their constitutionally guaranteed functions. But there were no measures taken to protect them.

The murder of the Tiger Eye investigative journalist is the first death in the line of duty in recent times in Africa and is an alarming escalation of the over 300 reported cases of attacks and harassment of journalists in 2018-2019 as recorded by the Press Attack Tracker which CWPPF perceives as “a major threat to democracy, freedom of the press and individual liberties of journalists and other media professionals worldwide”.

Hussein-Suale’ body has been deposited at the Police Morgue while the Ghanaian Police is currently at work gathering information on the case, according to a statement from the director of the criminal investigations department, Mr Maame Yaa Tiwaa Addo-Dankwa.

IPC in a statement by its director, Mr Lanre Arogundade, calls on the government and authorities of Ghana to make concerted efforts to ensure the arrest of perpetrators of the murder and seek justice for the crime committed.

“On average, every five days a journalist is killed across the world for bringing information to the public, therefore freedom of expression and safety of journalists as well as ending impunity for crimes committed against them are of vital importance to ensure the rule of law and human rights more broadly,” he says..

IPC appeals to “the security agents to fulfill their role in protecting and ensuring an environment conducive to freedom of expression, access to information and other fundamental freedoms. This means protecting journalists against attacks by those who seek to prevent them from informing the public on corruption and other abuses of power.”

The CWPPF statement was jointly signed by the Nigerian Union of Journalism (NUJ),  Media Rights Agenda (MRA), International Press Centre (IPC), Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) and the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ)

Others include, Paradigm Initiative, Premium Times, Order Paper NG, Daily Trust Newspaper, Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), The Cable Newspaper Journalism Foundation, Civic Media Lab, Sahara Reporters and the Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ).

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