Anas Aremeyaw Anas: An Undercover Reporter Who Uncovers Hidden Truths

Sometimes it takes a spark, just a spark, and he has provided that spark for the whole edifice to blow up,” former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said about the world’s most famous reporter, whose face is known to only a very few people. Anas Aremeyaw Anas is an investigative journalist from Ghana who uses his anonymity as a tool in his investigative arsenal and relies on prosthetics to uncover serious human rights violations and corruption stories.

“Ghana in the eyes of God” is a name of Anas’ movie about judicial corruption in Ghana ©

Explaining the way he investigates his stories at this year’s International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy, he said he is not a man without a face, as some like to call him: “Instead, I am a man of many faces – I was a rich husband when uncovering a scandal about baby-selling clinics in Nigeria; I was a prisoner during an investigation on African jails; and I was a patient affected by mental illness while reporting on a psychiatric hospital in Ghana.” During public appearances, however, he wears hats, caps, or other accessories to keep his real face covered.

Even though his work is focused on the African continent, his articles are an inspiration for young people across the globe.

His first article, published in 2009, helped him to understand that investing more time to conduct in-depth research and investigation would result in stories that people wanted to know about and – most of all – stories that could have an impact on people’s lives. “Undercover journalism is a necessity for the African continent. In countries where hunger, poverty, corruption, and human rights violations are widespread, it is crucial to find hard evidence to report abuses and have a positive impact on society,” Anas said during his speech in Perugia two weeks ago.

Name, shame and jail.” These three words sum up Anas’s work. His work as a journalist does not finish with the publication of the story, but it goes further: he holds the perpetrators accountable, he brings them to justice, and he even testifies as a witness in court. For him, there is no point in doing journalism if it does not have an impact. “My human rights investigations deal with creating a better life and providing equal opportunities for children and adults who are being abused whilst my corruption investigations focus on Government employees and executives who instead of working for the people rather loot the national kitty and thus deprive citizens of essential amenities that would create a better standard of living for them,” he wrote on his web site.

In one of his latest investigation, Anas and his team have revealed widespread corruption within the judicial system in Ghana, and they have recently filmed judges – including twelve High Court judges – accepting bribes in important court cases.

The reporter admits that his work could be seen as controversial, but he defends his way of doing journalism and says he does not need to justify it as far as he gets results: “How come when this kind of journalism is being done in Africa, some people have issues with ethics, but when the same type of journalism is replicated in the West, there is nothing wrong with it? For me, like I keep on saying, it is about the people,” Anas argues, emphasizing that his work helps to protect the rights of the people he writes about.

As his stories reach his audience, his popularity keeps growing on a global scale. He was honored by Foreign Policy as one of the leading global thinkers of 2015 while this year, Ohio University recognized him as an African Hero. More than 100 hundred thousand people are his fans on Facebook, many of them being young journalists who look up to him as their role model, while the encouragement is, in Anas’s words, mutual: “I remain eternally grateful to my fans all over the world for the many words of encouragement that I receive every day. Your encouragement and acknowledgement of my work makes it easier for me to wake up every day and continue with this crusade.

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