Transparency International has raised alarm over ‘disturbing’ risks many journalists take when reporting on corruption.
The alarm was sequel to recent developments involving a Ghanaian journalist Ahmed Hussein-Suale and Turkish journalist, Pelin Ünker.
The global watchdog expressed ‘deep shock’, in a newsletters issued on 18 January, 2019, at the Transparency International Secretariat, on the heinous murder of Ghanaian undercover journalist Ahmed Hussein-Suale.
Hussein-Suale 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.
Transparency had mentioned the incident in one of its newsletters last 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.
Meanwhile, 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.
According to Transparency International, 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.
Transparency noted that “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.”
It further stressed that only when wrongdoing is uncovered can the corrupt be held to account.
“Those who expose corruption must be protected, not intimidated, incarcerated or murdered,” it concluded.