Investigative journalist Manasseh Azure Awuni has said Ghana’s press freedom has been under attack since 2017 when Nana Akufo-Addo became President in 2017.
According to the journalist the environment that fosters free speech in Ghana has become hostile revealing that a number of journalists who agree with him opt to not to say same publicly but if the government put its ears to the ground, it would hear.
In an article he authored, he wrote: “the environment for free speech became hostile since the Akufo-Addo-led NPP took over the reins of government in 2017”.
Mr. Manasseh Azure said the closure of some pro-opposition radio station “appeared like a targeted closure…” was said Minister-designate for communication “feigned ignorance” when questioned.
“What appeared like a targeted closure of opposition radio stations happened under this government, and when the Minister for Communications appeared before parliament’s Appointments Committee for vetting, she fumbled and feigned ignorance when Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak showed her evidence of apparent partiality in the application of the law that was used to shut down Radio Gold, XYZ and others.” He wrote.
“With these and other subtle intimidations the media suffered in the past four years, one does not need a soothsayer to divine the fate of journalists and media houses that are critical of the government. But your government and its officials are still living in denial.” He fired Oppong Nkrumah who is Information Minister-designate.
Comparing the previous John Mahama administration to the Akufo-Addo government, Manasseh Azure said the atmosphere in the former was “very free and safe for journalists”.
“I rejected state security protection when Dr. Omane Boamah, the Communications Minister under John Mahama, offered me police after the president’s Ford “Gift” Story in 2016. The atmosphere was very free and safe for journalists. I felt safe enough to reject it.
The current dispensation is, however, different. The first time I made an official complaint to the CID Headquarters after receiving death threats was in 2017. You can verify. Apart from my editor at Joy FM and a handful of people, not many heard about it.
Many journalists have gone through worse than what is in the public. The internal pressures that are put on some journalists by their employers who cannot soak the pressure from some top government officials are killing critical journalism. You may do your independent fact-finding if you doubt me.”