Death threats against well-known Ghanaian investigative journalist
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns a wave of threats against the well-known Ghanaian investigative reporter who uses the pseudonym of Anas Aremeyaw Anas, and calls on the authorities to conduct an enquiry and punish those responsible.
What with threatening calls, intimidatory messages and suspicious vehicles near his home, Anas Aremeyaw Anas’s existence has become a living hell ever since word got out about his latest documentary, which exposes corruption in Ghanaian football and is due to be screened publicly for the first time today. It was President Nana Akufo-Addo who revealed the subject matter of Anas’s latest exposé. After being allowed to view extracts on right-of-reply grounds, Akufo-Addo ordered the arrest of the Ghana football association’s president, who was subsequently released on bail. Entitled “Number 12,” the documentary will get its first public screening today at the Accra International Conference Centre.
When reached by RSF, Anas said he had not been intimidated and he confirmed that the documentary’s release would go ahead despite the “regrettable” threats being made in various quarters, including by leading politicians. Speaking live on Adom FM on 4 June, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, a member of parliament who is named in the documentary, called Anas “a blackmailer, an extortionist” and said he should be “hanged.” He previously announced on Adom TV on 29 May that he was “going to stop him in what he is doing.”
“It is incomprehensible that deaths threats against a journalist renowned for his professionalism are being received with widespread indifference,” said Arnaud Froger, the head of RSF’s Africa desk. “The government should not tolerate such comments by a ruling party MP. Such threats must be taken seriously and systematically condemned, and an investigation must be carried out in order to punish those responsible.”
“The police must act proactively and not reactively, they shouldn't wait until something untoward happens to him,” Ghana Journalists Association president Affail Monney told RSF. A close associate of Anas has already been the target of threats that are not just verbal. On 31 May, gunmen tried to enter the home of Saddick Adams, a sports journalist who worked with Anas on the documentary.
Anas’s real identity is unknown. His face is always masked when he appears in public. His 2015 undercover documentary about corruption in the judiciary had a big impact and led to the suspension of 34 judges who were shown taking bribes.
Ghana is ranked 23rd out of 180 countries in RSF's 2018 World Press Freedom Index, African’s highest ranking.