Anas Aremeyaw Anas
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Anas Aremeyaw Anas
Anas at Oslo Freedom Forum
|Education||Christian Methodist Senior High School|
University of Ghana
|Al Jazeera, Africa Investigates|
Anas Aremeyaw Anas, better known as Anas, is a Ghanaian investigative journalist born in the late 1970s. Anas's motto is "name, shame and jail", and he is famous for utilizing his anonymity as a tool in his investigative arsenal; very few people had seen his face until an "unmasking" during a BBC interview in November 2015 — and this was a prosthetic. A politically non-aligned multimedia journalist who specializes in print media and documentaries, Anas focuses on issues of human rights and anti-corruption in Ghana and sub-Saharan Africa.
Anas has won multiple awards for journalism and advocating against slavery, and his investigative works have won him worldwide attention. Barack Obama in a speech during a 2009 visit to Ghana said "An independent press. A vibrant private sector. A civil society. Those are the things that give life to democracy. [...] We see that spirit in courageous journalists like Anas Aremeyaw Anas, who risked his life to report the truth."
In December 2015 Foreign Policy magazine named Anas one of 2015's leading global thinkers, and he has been invited to talk about his work at international conferences. In 2016 Anas had a "Best Journalist" award named after him by the Press Foundation in Ghana.
Anas is from Bimbilla in Northern Ghana and grew up in Burma Camp, a military barracks in Accra together with his two sisters. After attending Christian Methodist Senior High School in Accra, He attended the Ghana Institute of Journalism. After his degree, he turned down an opportunity to work as a reporter for the Ghanaian Times newspaper, instead choosing to join the Crusading Guide newspaper in 1998, under editor Kweku Baako Jnr.
Notable investigative works
Two of his most recent and influential works are:
Ghana in the Eyes of God. In 2015, Anas's investigation into the judiciary of the republic of Ghana resulted in the removal from office of workers from the third arm of government including 13 high court judges, 20 lower court judges and 19 Judicial Service court registrars and interpreters. Over 100 judicial service staff in total were probed, after being caught on camera taking gifts from undercover Tiger Eye PI investigators to influence court judgements.
Number 12. On the 6th May 2018 Anas released Number 12, so named because corruption was the "12th player on the football team". This exposé implicated almost the entire football administration in Ghana, and resulted in the President of Ghana dismantling the Ghana Football Association. The then Ghana Football Association president, Kwesi Nyantakyi, who was also an executive member of Fifa, was filmed by Anas accepting a bribe and forced to resign. All football matches in the country were called off after the Executive Committee of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) met on June 8, 2018, and dissolved the Referees Committee, deciding that all officials mentioned in the exposé should step aside.
International referees were also involved, such as Kenyan FIFA referee Marwa Range. He was filmed receiving US$600 before a previous game from Anas's investigative team posing as top Ghanaian football executives, leading to Marwa's withdrawal from the World Cup. A week before the 2018 FIFA World Cup was due to start, the BBC released the documentary. In the weeks following, other figures such as Super Eagles Coach Salisu Yusuf were found to be involved in the scandal.
Methods and response
Anas uses undercover journalism to "Name, shame and jail." The Ghana Journalists Association condones Anas's methodology according to their code of ethics rule book, stating that "a journalist [may] obtain[s] information, videos, data, photographs and illustrations only by honest, straightforward, fair and open means—unless otherwise tampered by public interest considerations". Anas believes drastic measures need to be taken to tackle the level of corruption in Ghana. The National Media Commission of Ghana hold that "there’s nothing wrong with Anas’ method". Ghana law permits undercover journalism.
Notable personalities (in alphabetical order) who have commented on his work:
- Abdul-Malik Kwaku Baako - Editor-In-Chief of the New Crusading Guide, Kweku Baako supports the "techniques used by... Anas." He stated that “Anas does undercover journalism, if they don’t know, it is accepted universally. It comes with challenges, ethical as well as moral”.
- Jerry John Rawlings - In reacting to Anas's critics, former president Rawlings said that "Anas should be hailed and not treated like an outcast". About the backlash from sections of the Ghanaian public concerning Anas's method, Rawlings added that "When we had the chance, we made an outcast of our own allowing our rivals to recognize the true worth and offer him such a sensitive national anti-corruption role. What does that make of us?"
- John Atta Mills - In 2015 it emerged that at least one of Anas's investigations was commissioned by the government of Ghana. Notably, "The President's Assignment"; an exposé from 2012 that unearthed corruption incidences at the Electricity Company of Ghana, was commissioned by the Professor Evans Mills, suggesting that the late president condoned Anas's modus operandi. Earlier in 2011, president Mills reprimanded security agencies during a surprise visit to the Customs Excise and Preventive Service following a corruption exposé involving customs officers, stating that, "I wish that the revelation from Anas could have come to me from the security agencies who work here. There are people who come here throwing their weight around. I have told General Modey that anyone who comes here in the President's name, the first thing you should do is to arrest them. I am not going to be party to anything which will destroy what we are building in this country".
- Kofi Annan - Appearing in a promotional video leading to the public premiering of the Ghana Football Association cash gift scandal, the former United Nations secretary general said that “Sometimes it takes a spark, just a spark and I think Anas has provided that spark for the whole edifice to blow up for people to wake up and say: ‘No more’”.
- Kennedy Agyapong - According to the Assin Central MP, who has repeatedly threatened Anas, as reported by the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders he stated that Anas's methods were 'unfair'. Following these and other allegations Anas responded "I've never in my life taken a bribe.... Nowhere! Whoever has a proof should bring it. It will crash. I know myself and I believe in myself. I know I’ve never taken bribe from anywhere... Some people are just blowing hot air”
- Mahamudu Bawumia - In defending the methodology of Anas, vice president of Ghana Dr. Bawumia said that "what Anas is doing is very relevant...people should know that what they do in the dark can be exposed...Really, I will encourage him to do what he does".
From October to December 2016, Anas ventured outside of the world of investigative journalism as an advocate for peace in his "Anas4Peace" multimedia campaign. These films, jingles and interactive social media posts brought together 22 non-aligned Ghanaian celebrities to advocate for peace during the election period. The #IAmAnas movement celebrating Anas's anonymity has also attracted media attention. In October 2018, Anas launched an online platform for members of the public to upload videos reporting corruption.
Awards and recognition
|Name of Award given to Anas Aremeyaw Anas||Granting body||Country|
|Excellent in Print Journalism 2016||Rajasthan Patrika Group||India|
|The Ghana Shippers Awards 2017||Ghana Shippers Awards||Ghana|
|Exceptional Journalist||GUBA Awards||UK|
|The Brave Award||Allianz Awards 2017||Ghana|
|Most Influential Investigative Journalist Award||The Press Foundation||Ghana|
|Journalist of the Year 2016||Ghana Journalists Association||Ghana|
|Honorary Award for Excellence in Journalism||4th Annual African Youth Excellence Awards||USA|
|Key to the city of Worcester, Massachusetts by the Mayor.||City of Worcester||USA|
|Most Influential Young Ghanaian, 2016||Avance Media||Ghana|
|Africa Together 2016||African Society of Cambridge University||United Kingdom|
|THE CITIZEN GHANA AWARD||EMY Africa||Ghana|
|African Hero 2015-2016||Ohio University||USA|
|100 Most Influentian Young Africans||New African|
|Ghana's Most Influential 2015||etv||Ghana|
|Prize for Democratic Governance 2015||Millennium Excellence Award||Ghana|
|Emerging Man of The Year 2015||Emerging Man of The Year Viasat1||Ghana|
|Gold Award- (Komela Dumor Award for journalism and Advocacy)||ExLA Awards||Ghana|
|Africa Peace Icon Award 2015||Accord||South Africa|
|Investigative Journalist of the Year||CIMG AWARD||Ghana|
|CMIG President's Special award||CIMG AWARD||Ghana|
|Ghana's Most Influential 2014||etv Ghana||Ghana|
|Engaged Journalism Award 2014||May Chidiac Foundation||Lebanon|
|Ghana's Most Influential 2013||ETV Ghana||Ghana|
|African Achievers Awards 2013||African Achievers Awards||Kenya|
|Annual Percy Qoboza Award||National Association of Black Journalists||USA|
|Children's Rights Award||One World Media Award||UK|
|Media Excellence||National Youth Achievers Awards 2012||Ghana|
|Best Environmental Feature||Diageo||UK|
|Bastion of Excellence in Investigative Journalism||Ghana Journalists’ Association||Ghana|
|Ghana's Most Influential 2011||ETV Ghana||Ghana|
|The Lorenzo Natali Award||European Union Journalism Prize for Development, Democracy and Human Rights||Ghana|
|KCK International Award for Excellence in Print Journalism||Patrika Group|
|Vocational Service Award||Rotary Club of Accra||Ghana|
|2010 Excellence in Media Award : Community Reporting||Global Health Council||Ghana|
|African Investigative Journalism Award||FAIR/IJC Awards||South Africa|
|Northen journalists Award||Flip Africa||Ghana|
|Anti-Corruption Reporting Award||The Ghanaian Journalist Association||Ghana|
|The Lorenzo Natali Prize||European Union Journalism Prize for Development, Democracy and Human Rights||Ghana|
|Nominee||Martin Luther King Award||United States|
|Written Journalisim||Nobert Zongo Prize for Investigative Reporting||Ghana|
|Investigative Journalism||The Segbo Excellence||Ghana|
|Hero Acting to End Modern-Day Slavery Award 2008||The US Department of State Washington DC||United States|
|Best Investigative Reporter||Ghana Journalists Association||Ghana|
|International journalisim : Local Reporter||The Kurt Schork Memorial Fund||UK|
|Every Human Has Rights Media Award||Every Human Has Rights Award and Internews, The Elders.||France|
|International Award for Excellence in Journalism||International Catholic Union of the Press||Switzerland|
|Global Shining Light Awards||Global Investigative Journalist Conference||Canada|
|Best Investigative Reporter||Ghana Journalists Association||Ghana|
|Journalist of the Year||Ghana Journalists Association||Ghana|
|Best Investigative Reporting||Ghana Journalists Association||Ghana|
|The Perfector of Sentiments Award||Ministry of Manpower, POS Foundation||Ghana|
|Excellence in Journalism||Catholic Union of the Press||Switzerland|
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