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The National Press Club called Friday for a thorough investigation of the murder of Ghanaian investigative journalist Ahmed Hussein Suale-Divela and urged officials in the west African nation to ensure that journalists can work safely and without the threat of violence.
Suale-Divela, who was part of an investigative reporting team that exposed corruption in African soccer, was shot to death in the evening of Jan. 16 in Accra, the capital, as he was driving home.
"We urge government leaders in Ghana to probe the killing of Suale-Divela and swiftly bring the accused to justice," said National Press Club President Alison Fitzgerald Kodjak.
Suale-Divela, who had said last fall he feared for his life after a politician made threatening comments and urged others to attack him, worked for Tiger Eye Investigations, a company that has an investigative news service.
Tiger Eye's reporting helped lead to a lifetime ban for Kwesi Nyantaki, FIFA Council member and former head of the Ghana Football Association. Nyantaki was filmed accepting a bribe of $65,000, according to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. After the BBC last year aired a documentary about the scandal, Ghanaian Member of Parliament Kennedy Agyapong encouraged people to attack Suale-Divela and others on the reporting team.
"Threatening journalists and others who expose wrongdoing is an egregious violation of the norms of civil society and democratic nations," said Barbara Cochran, president of the National Press Club's Journalism Institute.
Suale-Divela was the first journalist in the world to be killed in 2019, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
The National Press Club, whose Press Freedom Committee monitors events affecting journalism around the world, and the National Press Club Journalism Institute will be closely watching the outcome of the investigation in Ghana, Kodjak and Cochran said.
Founded in 1908, the National Press Club is the world's leading professional organization for journalists. It has more than 3,100 members worldwide. The Club supports press freedom through its nonprofit National Press Club Journalism Institute.
NPC Press Freedom Committee members Miranda Spivack (301-365-8098) or John M. Donnelly(202-650-6738).
SOURCE National Press Club