A Cuban documentarian known for his advocacy in preserving media freedom once suggested that democracy would be on its knees the day politicians succeed in silencing the media.
Investigative Journalism has, and continue to play an important role in the fight against corruption, and many investigative journalists have brought about reform in society through their work. Reporter Callum Tulley recently went undercover for BBC investigative current affairs documentary Panorama and uncovered disturbing episodes of abuse on detainees of Brook House Immigration Removal Centre in Gatwick London.
In the documentary, Callum a former Custody Officer, secretly filmed disturbing scenes of detainees being choked and mocked by G4S officers who were responsible for the upkeep of these detainees. This reportage has led to the suspension of nine G4S staff, calls by campaigners for the removal centre to be shut and a meeting between G4S and Secretary of State Michael Gove to discuss the abuse.
Investigative Journalism is not new in Ghanaian media and some Ghanaian journalists have, over time, carried out excellent and successful investigations into allegations of corruption. The caution from the president of the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA), Affail Monney, for journalists to exercise restraint in their reportage of allegations of corruption involving some local businesses is misplaced.
In the present climate, Investigative Journalism may well be the lifeline in the fight against corruption in Ghana. It is regrettable when some Members of Parliament and other pundits sit on the panels of television programs and reveal sensitive information of alleged instances of corruption. The sensitive nature of some of these facts is better left to the law enforcement agencies and investigative journalists. It makes sense that some politicians and citizens would want to participate in unravelling acts of corruption, but revealing sensitive details that could aid in an investigation impedes the fight against corruption.
The crackdown on investigative Journalists intensified after renowned Ghanaian journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas struck the heart of the Ghanaian judicial system with an expose on corruption. And this caution from the president of the GJA does little to stop the witch-hunt of investigative journalists in Ghana.