Undercover journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas says the purpose of investigative journalism is “to name, shame and jail,” – a risky business – but if executed properly, it yields powerful results.
“When you start an investigation you have to know exactly what you’re looking for,” he told Joy FM’s Daniel Dadzie in an exclusive interview on the Super Morning Show Thursday. "You have to be focused. You have to know exactly what you’re doing.”
He fought off claims that he influenced the outcome of his latest investigation, “Number 12: When Greed and Corruption Become the Norm.” In the critically-acclaimed exposé, he alleges wrongdoings within the Ghana Football Association and its president Kwesi Nyantakyi, who has since resigned.
He said prior to the latest investigation, he gathered an extensive pile of prima facie evidence in the judicial corruption exposé. The investigation is considered one of the country’s biggest corruption scandals and led to the implication of more than 30 judges.
“It is not within your remit to decide whether an investigation should go left or right. You don’t just start working. You must first establish evidence.”
He further added that before he begins an investigation, he meets with about six or seven lawyers in the country, who cross-examine all of his research. He says that while the lengthy process is rigorous, “its good because it strengthens you.”
“You cannot just pop out with your camera and decide to record. You have to understand the topic well. If you don’t, you put yourself in all sorts of problems.”
Anas’ rise to international acclaim began in 2003 when he unmasked a Korean worker’s maltreatment of Ghanaian workers aboard a shipping vessel of Afko Fisheries. Since then his works have been sighted by international public figures including former U.S. President Barack Obama who said Anas is “a courageous journalist who risked his life to tell the truth.”
But rewards don’t come without pressure. His says during his tenure as an investigative journalist, he has received dozens of death threats against him and his family. It’s partly why he refuses to show his face in public. His notable decorative beads draped over his face have become a phenomenon enticing public fascination.
Video: “I Didn’t Entrap Nyantakyi” – Anas
He says the impact of his reporting is worth the risk. Through his investigative works, he’s jailed dozens of corrupt politicians and business owners.
“Don’t let anyone think I am intimidated by anyone,” adding that “if you take out Anas today. There will be another Anas tomorrow.”
“Journalism is a hot kitchen. If you cannot bear the heat, you must get out."