Anti-corruption needs journalism
Not even a month into 2019 and we are once again disturbingly reminded of the risks many journalists take when reporting on corruption.
Deeply shocked, we condemn the heinous murder of Ghanaian undercover journalist Ahmed Hussein-Suale, who was shot and killed this week after a politician called for retribution against him. He worked on an undercover investigation with the BBC about corruption in the country’s football leagues, which we mentioned in one of our newsletterslast June, shortly before the FIFA World Cup.
Hussein-Suale was a member of Tiger Eye Private Investigations and worked alongside prominent Ghanaian journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas. They exposed bribe-taking and caused the resignation of a high-level FIFA referee who was due to work at last summer’s World Cup. This also led to the Ghanaian national football association being dissolved.
Over in Turkey, journalist Pelin Ünker, a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), was found guilty of “defamation and insult” and sentenced to 13 months jail for her work on the Paradise Papers investigation into offshore tax havens.
Turkey has the world’s worst record for jailing journalists, with 68 in prison at the end of 2018, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. All the jailed reporters are facing charges of crimes against the state.
Journalists play a vital role in exposing the corrupt and their methods, and too often they face threats, violence, arrest, and death as a result. Since 1992, at least 281 journalists have been killed and since 2017 at least 190 journalists have been incarcerated worldwide for reporting on corruption.
Only when wrongdoing is uncovered can the corrupt be held to account. Those who expose corruption must be protected, not intimidated, incarcerated or murdered.
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