Two Ghanaian investigative journalists have their stories featured in African Muckraking, a book which collected outstanding investigative stories written by Africans in the last 75-years of investigative journalism in Africa.
Crusading Guide’s Anas Aremeyaw Anas and JoyNews’ Ohemeng Tawiah’s reports featured prominently in the 347-page book authored by Anya Schiffrin, a Director at the Colombia University.
While Anas’ investigations into corruption especially in the judiciary got attention of the author, Ohemeng Tawiah’s report on how officialdom feed on donor support on malaria control programme in Ghana was mind boggling.
The duo have their stories captured Corruption and Health, Rural Affairs and the Environment sections of the book.
The African Muckraking is a collection of 41 pieces of detailed African investigative journalism which dates back to the 1930s.
Many of the African Muckrakers [featured contributors] have one way or the other risked their lives to tell their stories in unique ways. Some have been killed or incarcerated in their line of work.
The outstanding stories include passionately written labour abuses, police brutality, women rights, struggle for democracy and independence on the African continent, among others. Among them are stories on corruption and brutality by Mozambican journalist, Carlos Cardoso who was murdered in line of duty.
Author of the book, Anya Schiffrin is Director of Technology, Media and Advocacy Specialization at the Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.
She had spent two years collecting these outstanding stories written by African journalists which made impact in Africa over the last 75-years.
“We really began sort of treasure hunt. It involves looking in achieves around the world, newspaper archives , reaching out to African journalists to historians, to experts- to teachers around the world. It involves thinking hard,” says Anya Schiffrin.
That idea to do a book on African Investigative Journalism was sold to Anya by Professor Anton Harber of the University of Witwatersrand Journalism Program.
The book was launched on Thursday at the 10th Global Investigative Journalism Conference currently ongoing in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Anya Schiffrin speaks on the importance of the two Ghanaian stories in her book.
“There were two distinctive things about these pieces; one is Anas of course is world-famous, he’s controversial and people may disagree with his tactics but he is known globally and he is tackling a subject a lot of African journalists have tackled which is corruption and his tactics are controversial so that makes him interesting,” Anya said of Anas’ stories.
She then revealed: “The malaria piece was incredibly important because health reporting and reporting about development are actually the stories that affect most peoples’ lives. If you want immediate media credibility, you got to write stories that touch peoples’ lives.”
She added, “It shouldn’t just be the war, famines and the presidents. There should be stories about real people and their lives and the things that affects them.”
One of the contributors, Anas Aremeyaw Anas wants more journalists to venture into investigative journalism as he heaped praises on Ohemeng Tawiah for quality of work.
“It is an attestation to the fact that we must all work harder. I have always commended you[Ohemeng] and others on this kind of work. I think we are having more budding excellent journalists coming up and I can only pray that we all stay focussed,” he said.
According to him, the feat would be meaningless if more Ghanaian journalists are not encouraged to do investigative journalism.
“It’s meaningless if we can find ourselves at theses stages without encouraging our colleagues to all be part of it.”
Introduction of Anas Aremeyaw Anas and Ohemeng Tawiah, both members of the African Investigative Publishing Collective stories were done by Evelyn Groenink, Investigation Editor at ZAM Magazine, Netherlands.