Media Owners Refuse To Publish Corruption Stories - Manasseh Azure Goes Wild

Investigative journalist, Manasseh Azure has purported that media owners in Ghana are corrupt.

According to him, journalists have failed to champion the fight against corruption because of the interferences by media owners.

Giving a lecture on the corruption perception index of Ghana, Manasseh Azure blamed media owners for suppressing employees' reports on corrupt officials in the country.

"The corruption that is sinking our society has not spared the media," he posited.

"The reasons the media are failing in their fight against corruption are many but I will mention a few of those I consider to be most important . . . At times, the problem is the media owners who refuse to publish the corruption stories. In 2013, we lost one of the finest journalists in Ghana’s Fourth Republic, Samuel Agyemang of Metro TV. Samuel did a good investigative work on Subah Infosolutions but was stopped from airing it on Metro TV, where he worked. He had to publish it on YouTube and resigned afterward. He later recounted what he went through on Facebook," he further said.

Manasseh Azure said this when delivering a speech at Baah-Wiredu memorial lecture in honor of Ghana’s former Finance Minister the late Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu.

He also accused the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) of killing the media spirit to fight corruption.

"In 2017, I published an investigative series titled 'Robbing the Assemblies' in which I revealed fraudulent sanitation contracts that had robbed the nation and the assemblies hundreds of millions of cedis. It was this investigation that revealed that a bin liners contract that was supposed to cost 900,000 cedis less than one million cedis was awarded to the Jospong Group for more than 64 million cedis. This investigation resulted in the cancellation of a 74 million-dollar contract. However, not many in the media were enthused that I had gone back to the Zoomlion stable after first visiting it in the 2013 GYEEDA Scandal. The Ghana Journalists Association to which I belonged issued a statement against that investigative work, saying I should not destroy a Ghanaian business.

"The most disturbing part of it was that the GJA did not state a single ethical breach in that investigation. The morning after that press statement, there was a call from Zoomlion to one of my colleagues at Joy FM, where I worked, asking him to table the GJA press statement for discussion on the Super Morning Show. Joy FM did not do it but the GJA’s support for Zoomlion against its own member made the front pages of many newspapers and enjoyed enormous reviews. It took the anti-corruption civil society organisations and the Media Foundation for West Africa to come to my defense."

Azure added that another body hindering the work of journalists to clamp down on corruption is the journalists themselves.

"Any journalist who wants to fight corruption in Ghana would soon realise that their fiercest opponents are their fellow journalists, who for one reason or the other would fight on the side of the those stealing from the state. Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, another reason the media have not been strong in the fight against corruption is the lack of protection for investigative or anti-corruption journalists.

"Whoever engages in the fight against corruption takes on a dangerous venture, whether the person is a journalist, politician, or a civil society activist. The threat facing investigative journalists in Ghana is enormous. It has always been there but it has heightened in the past four years because the body language of the Akufo-Addo administration is that of viciousness and intolerance. I have never felt so unsafe as a journalist and many of my colleagues share safety concerns because of recent events."

"But the media must not give up. Journalists fighting corruption cannot give up because institutions of state have generally failed to do their work and it will be disastrous if the media sleep on their hallowed constitutional mandate. I believe the media remains our main hope in the fight against corruption. State institutions that are mandated to fight corruption have generally failed us," he however charged journalists.