Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako Jnr, has dismissed reports that the National Security Minister, Albert Kan-Dapaah facilitated Manasseh Azure’s ‘exile’ from the country.
According to him, even though the state is providing the investigative journalist with some form of security, it didn’t aid in helping him to his hideout out of the country.
Manasseh Azure is being provided with state security after receiving death threats following the airing of his investigative piece which highlighted the activities of De Eye Group; a private firm which operated at the former seat of government; Osu Castle.
The documentary also identified the head of the group as Nana Wireko Addo, popularly known as ‘Choman’; a one-time bodyguard of President Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo.
Few days after the airing of the documentary, ‘Militia in the heart of the nation’, government filed a formal complaint with the National Media Commission seeking a retraction and an apology.
The government is also seeking to have The Multimedia Group reprimanded over the documentary which it claims badmouths the Akufo-Addo administration, while the militia group, ‘De Eye’ has also dragged the company and investigative journalist Manasseh Azure Awuni to court for defamation.
Then, out of the blue, Prof. Kwame Karikari of the Media Foundation for West Africa, last week disclosed that following the death threats, Manasseh had to flee the country.
According to him, “in most of March and April this year, the very well-known and respected investigative journalist of Multimedia fame, Manasseh Azure Awuni spent virtually all of March and April this year running and hiding from rogue elements of unknown identities who were bent on a campaign to murder him. At first, Manasseh’s employers kept moving him from hiding place to hiding place. The police came in to provide him bodyguards for protection during the day. Even this was not enough. The threat got so unbearable the Media Foundation for West Africa had to step in to find refuge or safe haven for him in a foreign country.”
Contributing to a panel discussion on Peace FM’s morning show ‘Kokrokoo’, Kweku Baako said: “Our security and safety is non-negotiable . . . we’ve passed this stage. Manasseh is one of the best journalists in our contemporary history, it’s undeniable but that doesn’t mean he is perfect . . . but his right to feel secured in his own country in pursuit of his profession, we all have to give him the appropriate support.”
To Mr Baako, the state had nothing to do with his going out (outside the country) and so the story of the National Security Minister facilitating his trip is “actually untrue”.
“I find it impossible for the same state which is giving him (Manasseh) protection to turn round and harm him….
“Nobody can convince me that President Akufo-Addo will be instrumental in generating any regime of fear especially against journalists; nobody, there is nobody, unless you come and show me (Kweku Baako) evidence for me to validate,” he added.