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Opinions of Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Columnist: Patrick Twumasi |

Journalists’ lives matter too

The late investigative journalist Ahmed Hussein-Suale The late investigative journalist Ahmed Hussein-Suale

Journalism, also referred to as the Noble Profession of the Ink, is not a well-paying job, but it comes with fame and social prestige.

It is a profession of sacrifice and self-dedication to serving society and standing like a rock in matters of principle for the vulnerable.

Journalists have over the years served society in very trying times and it’s always in dire circumstances that the daring media professionals broadcast news items on various platforms. Sometimes, one tends to ask whether it is worth the risk to report from a tperilous environment such as war zones.

However, the world will always be waiting to listen, read and watch in the comfort of their homes, what is happening around them and the world over. How many people hold their breath for a moment to ask the hustle and bustle the Journalist encounters to bring to the attention of society such deep insights of war, the neglect of the vulnerable and the contribution of humanity to social development?

Sociologists have posited that any time social actors refuse to play the role that society has cast for them, society is at a state of pathology. Nonetheless, the Journalist has always brazed the storm to play their role as the voice of the voiceless and the fighters of social injustice. They are sometimes recognized by society, others pass as unsung heroes and heroines.

The third American President, Thomas Jefferson observed that “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter” This is how relevant Journalism and the noble profession of the ink is in playing the role of the social watcher.

Unfortunately, this same society has failed to restrain some aggregate members who can be considered as a poisonous cocktail of looters, nation wreckers and dark cheats from attacking with brute force in the crude sense innocent Journalists, who are only armed with a pen. The pen is said to be powerful than the sword. This is a cliché which strengthens the resolve of the noble professional. However, the sword is a taker of life and havoc wrecker.

These enemies of media freedom are also fomenters of mistrust against credible facts. The perpetrators of heinous crimes against media professionals are brute enemies of the free flow of information and debate, which is the lifeblood of freedom. The crude visit of icy death on media professionals in the current dispensation keep blurring the difference between a democratic era and a period of authoritarianism.

The cold blooded and heart wrenching murder of the late Ahmed Hussein-Suale one of the undercover agents of Tiger Eye PI vividly depicts how passive society has become with the security of her members and the Journalists themselves.

It will be heartless for anyone to conceive the thought that the late Ahmed Hussein-Suale elected himself to be killed.

However, when his face was conspicuously shown and cover blown, concrete steps should have been taken by him and the Tiger Eye PI team to reengineer his identity to evade the venom of the disgruntled individuals of society from being vented on him.

Because, these men and women, who have offered themselves to provide informed opinions to the general public on daily basis are vehemently opposed by faceless individuals of paralyzed brains fighting against efforts to undermine factual truth, and those who honestly seek it.

Investigative journalism has to do with intense research and eyes for details. This branch of journalism takes the professional behind the stories to double check and reveal the true reflection of tales presented to society. It tells the faceless sharks behind the masks of greedy individuals of society.

This branch of journalism is extremely dangerous, because it aims to lift the veil of corrupt actors, thieves and evil doers of society. No one is happy to be exposed, and that is the source of the danger. Investigative Journalists all over the world who have lost sight of this have paid dearly.

These killers of media professionals are fighters, who work to obscure testable reality placing them in direct opposite to the ethos of social morality. Therefore, Hussein-Suale’s death was the result of underestimation of the capabilities and activities of dark and bad forces.

When the Number 12 investigative documentary was shown to the world, many quaked in their seats.

It revealed the innocent faces behind the rot in Ghana and for that matter Africa football. Before then was the expose on the Judges. All these revelations brought down empires of the highest order of the corrupt and shut ancient doors of cruelty in society.

Unfortunately, the showing of the “Who Watches the Watchman” exposed the real identities of the uncover Journalists, who were involved in the production of the documentary.

After the cover of the late Ahmed had been blown and subsequent threat issued on him eight months ago, what was the reaction of National Security and the Ghana Journalism Association to prevent this sad end of such a promising and hardworking young man?

Why did the National Security or the Ghana Police Service not invite the Honorable MP eight months ago? However, akin to our Ghanaian attitude, we passively waited till the unexpected happened. If strong institutions had stood up to the strong man for the first time, Ahmed Hussein-Suale will have been alive today.

The key question is, who gave the tape to the Honorable Member of Parliament? When the Honorable MP threatened to show his version of the Number 12 documentary, what efforts were made by the Ghana Journalist Association, National Security and civil society to prevent its showing? We needed Ahmed to be alive to expose more rot and not to be on the lookout for his killers. If we had been proactive Ahmed would be alive today.

When complaints were made by some Journalists concerning the conditions of service of the Presidential Press Corps, it went unheeded until the Ghanaian Times Reporter Samuel Nuamah lost his life in a tragic accident.

The GJA should be proactive to put in place the needed measures to stop these preventable deaths. The media professionals must also take a keen interest in their personal security.

In the case of the late Ahmed Hussein-Suale, we woke up to shut the staple when the horses had bolted.

May the gentle soul of the late Ahmed and the souls of the fellow Journalists who have fallen from the activities of dark forces rest in perfect peace.

From Him, all men came, unto
Him all shall return, the day of appointment can neither be delayed nor hastened by any man.