Journalism is not a well-paying job, but it comes with fame and social prestige.
It is a profession of sacrifice and self-dedication to 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 always in dire circumstances.
Sometimes, one tends to ask whether it is worth the risk to report from perilous environments 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.
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How many people hold their breath for a moment to ask about the hustle and bustle the journalist encounters to inform society of the deep insights into wars, the neglect of the vulnerable and the contribution of humanity to social development?
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 is in playing the role of the social watcher.
Unfortunately, this same society has failed to restrain some individuals, who can be considered as poisonous cocktail of looters, from attacking with brute force innocent journalists, who are only armed with a pen. These enemies of media freedom are also fomenters of mistrust against credible facts.
Perpetuators 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 death on media professionals in the current dispensation keeps blurring the difference between democratic and authoritarianism eras.
The heart-wrenching murder of the late Ahmed Hussein-Suale, an undercover agent of Tiger Eye PI, vividly depicts how passive society has become with security. It will be heartless for anyone to think that the late Ahmed elected himself to be killed. However, when his cover was blown, concrete steps should have been taken by the group to reengineer his identity to evade disgruntled individuals from venting their venom on him.
This is because journalists, who have offered themselves to provide informed opinions on a daily basis, are vehemently opposed by faceless individuals who fight against efforts to undermine factual truth and those who honestly seek it.
Investigative journalism has to do with intense research and eye for details. This branch of journalism takes the journalist behind the stories to double-check facts.
Investigative journalism is extremely dangerous because it operates to lift the veil of corrupt actors. No one is happy to be exposed and that is the source of the danger.
Investigative journalists all over the world who have played down this danger pay dearly.
These killers of journalists are fighters who work to obscure testable reality, placing them in direct opposite to the ethos of social morality.
Therefore, his death was the result of the underestimation of the capabilities of dark forces.
When the Number 12 investigative documentary was shown to the world, many quaked in their seats. It revealed the faces behind the rot in Ghana football.
The revelations brought down empires of the highest order of the corrupt in society.
Unfortunately, “Who watches the watchman” exposed the real identities of the uncover journalists.
When the threat was issued on him, what was the reaction of the Ghana Police Service?
Why did the Ghana Police Service not invite the member of Parliament at the time he issued the threat?
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 would have been alive today.
The key question is, who gave the tape to the member of Parliament?
The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) should be proactive to put in place the needed measures to stop these preventable deaths.
Journalists must also take keen interest in their personal security.
In the case of the late Ahmed, we woke up to shut the stables when the horses had bolted.
The writer is the Head, Public Relations, NFED