SO I MET THE JAMES BOND OF JOURNALISM, ANAS AREMEYAW ANAS (READ)

by Rachel Ogbu

It was the first standing ovation of the day, the final talk of the evening, it suddenly strikes me how far away from the “real” reality most of us are. Scanning the latest news on my phone every day didn’t capture a fraction of what was actually going on in Africa- on the corridors of society. In less than thirty minutes; Anas Aremeyaw Anas, a Ghanaian award-winning undercover investigative journalist, gave a presentational speech showing us a series of video clips at the London School of Economic: Africa Summit, March 31, 2107. A talk that would stop heartbeats and make us all question our ideologies.
ANAS AREMEYAW ANAS
I look around at about a 100 other people in the room, mostly students of the LSE in their early 20s and professors from the same and other institutions around the world. We are all here on an organised summit to participate in a two-day meeting in an attempt to sort out the deep routed crisis from terrorism to education in Africa using purely African solutions or at least to discover next steps.
But nothing prepared us for Anas, nothing prepared us for the build-up to his entrance {we were told everybody had to remain seated, no going out- no coming in and no talking}, nothing prepared us for his appearance and that of his entourage {three men came up on stage wearing beaded masks in hooded robes} and nothing prepared us for what he said next which was both terrifying and eerily comforting for us knowing that at least one man was an army on a mission to bring corrupt people to justice. He called it the system of “NAMING, SHAMING AND JAILING!”
Anas showed us his report of the Spirit Child. The report took cameras to some villages in Ghana where children born with deformities were labelled evil and then sacrificed. Using a prosthetic baby and hidden camera, Anas brought the perpetrators (native doctors) before the law after they advised him to kill his child as they sensed a lot of evil in the baby that was hindering his success.
Next was the heart-wrenching report on the “Spell of the Albinos” in Tanzania where a good number of the population still think the limbs and body parts of children born with albinism are to be used for good luck medicine and charms. “My journalism is about hardcore evidence. My kind of journalism is a product of my society,” Anas said, referring to the concept “African solutions for African problems” regardless of the Western tenets of journalism. More hardcore evidence was shown from “orphanages from hell,” and ill-treatment of people in the psychiatric hospital to inhumane prison conditions, baby-making factories and quack doctors operating in broad daylight. All these were captured on a hidden camera attached to Anas as he posed as either a prisoner, a patient or a cleaner working in these conditions and filming the entire operation. “Evil in the society is an extreme disease, if you have extreme diseases you have to use extreme remedies. My kind of journalism may not fit in other continents or other countries but I can tell you it works in my part of the continent.” The shocking videos went on as Anas who some referred to as the James Bond of Journalism talked us through each horrible episode and how the perpetrators were eventually arrested and taken to court, these included pastors, police staff and even state judges. 
He brought stories we were used to hearing but he unravelled the depths and cores to these crimes like no other had done before, it was nothing we’ve ever seen and the general tensed air in the room reflected how captured we felt. To authenticate his reporting Anas had also disguised as a woman, as a pastor, and even as a rock and though we found moments to laugh, it was more of a defence mechanisms watching in disbelief of how some Africans were that evil to their fellow man, even Nollywood couldn’t come up with this type of evil. It definitely gave the most of us an inner rush and a hit of meaning. More needs to be done!
Anas concludes: “Some of these people are in jail for 60 years, I’m not telling you about the experiment, I’m telling you about what works in the society. I can feel it already. Some of you will say this is no journalism, perhaps, some will say I’m in bed with the government because I work with both government and civil society, that is a fair comment at the end of the day, nobody defines what journalism means in my society.”

Post Author: Editor

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