The Role Of Investigative Journalists In Ghana

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Investigative Journalism is a form of journalism in which reporters deeply investigate a single topic of interest such as serious crimes, political corruption or corporate wrongdoing. It is also an in-depth, detailed, original work through a reporters own initiative. An investigative journalist may spend months or years researching and preparing a report. Practitioners sometimes use the terms “watchdog reporting” or accountability reporting. Most investigative journalism has traditionally been conducted by Newspapers, Wire service and freelance journalists. With the decline in income through advertising, to fund investigative journalism is time consuming and therefore expensive. Journalistic investigations are increasingly carried out by news organisations and other external bodies like the Tiger Eye PI in Ghana.

Former head of Commission on Human Rights and Administration Justice (CHRAJ) Emile Short has stated that investigative journalism plays an essential role of fighting corruption in Ghana. For almost 20 years now, the democratic foundation of this country has been shaken to the core. The resilience and longevity of political governance, accountability, the protection on human rights and democracy at large have been tested at least once every year through the works of Ace investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas and the likes of Manasseh Azure and the late Ahmed Suale. From Anas days as a street hawker to expose some corrupt police officers, the inhuman treatment of Ghanaians by a Korean employer, Ghana in the eyes of God about corruption in the judiciary service. Ghanaians and the entire media world needs to reflect on the pivotal role the investigative journalist play, though many argue the style used is unethical. Investigative journalism has deepened constitutional democracy in Ghana despite the dilemma that it puts reporters in. Investigative journalism has ensured the protection of fundamental human right of citizens through the watchdog role, the fighting against all degrees of corruption, as well as given a fearful face lift to the Fourth Estate Realm, the profession.

Investigative journalism, has led the fight against corruption (A case of chapter 20 of the constitution), Strong Activism Against Human Rights Abuse and The Advocacy for true Accountability, Equal Resource Allocation and Social Justice. Investigative reporting is increasingly important in mitigating corruption which is a major impediment to developing democratic institutions and laws. Through the undercover of Anas, corruption of varying magnitudes spanning all areas of Ghana’s socio economic and political development have had some public outrage, judicial address, administrative reforms and prosecutions. Anas expose passport scandal did not only lead to the immediate adoption of biometric passport for Ghanaians as a critical operational reform, it also exposed the officials in  making passport for non citizens in the country. Similar abuse of minors was brought to book in his project Orphans Home of Hell an undercover in Ghana’s biggest state run orphanage. Furthermore to the Judiciary service 34 judges and magistrates were culprit in the scandal. Some excluded lawyers and judges were praised for their incorruptible efforts in helping administer quality justice for the country. By this, enterprise reporting does not only name, shame and jail but also praises good deeds if the need be.

The above ethos and standards are further buttressed by the constitution. Decentralization is a pillar of democracy and this demands the equal allocation of state resources. This is at the back of very deplorable conditions of some rural areas in the country. It is worth notion that efforts of civil societies and other relevant partners in development are dependent on the social justice campaign by investigative journalist. In conclusion Ghana may be experiencing over 25 years of constitutional democracy, however, this story is not complete without the role of investigative journalists. Through the courageous and faceless face works of Anas Aremeyaw Anas and his hard working team in the profession.

  By AKosua Boateng

GIJ

Level 300

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