The Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), Yaw Boadu Ayeboafo, has explained that whenever information is difficult to come by during investigative journalism, unorthodox methods can be used to obtain the facts.
However, he said, the journalist must be prepared to pay the price for resorting to unorthodox methods in accessing information.
Mr Ayeboafo was commenting on the judgment on the case involving investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas and Assin Central Member of Parliament Kennedy Agfyapon
Speaking to TV3, he said “As much as possible we must be transparent in our approach to issues. Where everybody appreciates that there are obstacles that impede us but the information is in the interest of the public and therefore needs to go out, we may resort to the unorthodox method.
“But we must also understand that if we are exposed in the course of applying that unorthodoxy in our investigation we may pay the price.”
The Accra High Court on Wednesday, March 15 dismissed the GH¢25 million defamation suit against Kennedy Ohene Agyapong brought by investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas.
The judge, Justice Eric Baah, held that Anas Aremeyaw Anas failed to prove that Ken Agyapong defamed him by airing the documentary – “Who watches the watchman” – but rather, the documentary exposed shady deals that Anas and his associates were involved in.
This was after Anas, in 2018, sued the New Patriotic Party (NPP) lawmaker for allegedly defaming him.
Anas prayed to the court to award GH¢25 million against Mr Agyapong to compensate him for the defamatory material published against him by the MP.
The court concluded that what Anas is engaged in is not investigative journalism but rather “investigative terrorism” and that Agyapong was justified to call Anas “a blackmailer, corrupt, an extortionist, and evil”.
“I find the claims by the plaintiff [Anas Aremeyaw Anas) meritless and they are hereby dismissed,” Justice Baah ruled.
But Anas said he disagreed with the judge both on law and on the facts of the case.
He accused Justice Baah of delving into the arena of criminal prosecution against him despite the matter being a civil case.
“My team and I and the lawyers have carefully studied the judgment delivered by the court and we are unanimous that the judge made an overreach and descended into the arena and made criminal pronouncements about me as If I was standing a criminal trial.
“He also justified the MP accusing me of the murder of JB Danquah, murder of 20 Chinese nationals. We are filing an appeal because there was no evidence provided,” Anas said in a video recording responding to the judgment.”
He added “…I disagreed with the judge’s ruling both on law and the facts. when I started this work 21 years ago, I never assumed that it would be an easy road yet it is the evidence in my work and the commitment to truth and justice that has always led and prevailed against all the forces that have worked to pull us down”
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana