Anas Aremeyaw Anas: Interview with Investigative Journalist

Today is aptly a holiday as Labor day this year fell on a Sunday and in Ghana that doesn’t count – a holiday has to come with a weekday off – so here we go. Lazily surfing about on blog Africa Unchained, I came across this interesting article published in The Atlantic about award winning investigative journalist Anas Ameyaw Anas.

Anas was the one to expose the ill-conditions for children at the Osu Childrens’ Home, the bribes at Ghana Customs and some other high profile scandals. The article with the suggestive heading “Smuggler, Forger, Writer, Spy” outlines Anas sometimes risky methods and his background  – he is a lawyer, so draws on his knowledge to produce evidence that will hold in court! It also discusses the problematic aspect of Anas now running a for-profit investigative bureau, Tiger Eye.

Nicholas Schmidle writes in The Atlantic:

The demand for Anas’s services soon outstripped his capacity at the newspaper. Some of the requests he received for investigations didn’t quite qualify as journalism. So last year Anas created a private investigative agency called Tiger Eye. He rents an unmarked space across town on the top floor of a four-story building where a handful of his newspaper’s best reporters work alongside several Tiger Eye employees. It’s difficult to know where one operation ends and the other begins. But they’re all part of Anas’s investigative fiefdom. The work space is divided into two sections: a war room of sorts, with a bank of computers against one wall and a wide table in the middle where the team hammers out strategy; and Anas’s office, decorated with framed awards, oversize checks (including one for $11,700 for Journalist of the Year), and snapshots of himself in disguise. Anas appeared uneasy when I asked him about Tiger Eye, partly because he realizes that its commercial aspect puts him in ethically dangerous territory. Yet it also constitutes a major source of the budget he relies on for long-term newspaper assignments. During the two weeks I spent with him in January, Anas fielded calls from the BBC and 60 Minutes, as well as private security companies, asking if he could conduct investigations for them. All offered generous compensation.

An issue that is not explicitly discussed, but can be read between the lines, is how lonely Anas is at his post.

Do we really just have one investigative journalist in Ghana?

If you have time off this Monday, I recommend you read Schmidle’s well-written article in full!