Before I publish my critique of the Anas method, I must establish that I believe in Anas. I believe in the cause he stands for. He is the conscience we need. I have tried it and if you have not, the easiest way to actually avoid a gift without offending the giver is to smile nicely and say, “I can’t take this. Cos I really can’t tell if you’re Anas.”
What he has achieved as an investigative reporter is immense. He is a national icon who embodies the spirit of a true citizen. I intend to, actually start a campaign to get Anas an emoji. This would be a very simple and practical way of reminding people about integrity and the need to shy away from corruption. Because the face with the beaded mask is an effigy that strikes integrity into hearts upon sight.
I must further establish, before fanatics go for blood, that this critique is not meant to spite, attack or vitiate the worth of Anas’ work. As confessed in the above paragraph, I remain an Anas fan, a fact which all second year Diploma students of the Ghana Institute of Journalism can attest to.
The critique I will offer may have occurred to the #Anas team and may have been forfeited based on a higher or a more informed judgement. I hereby also establish that my critique is not without critique. And what I actually look forward is a discourse to create a healthier method that is consistent and fair to the subjects involved.
So help me!
1. ARE WE GROWING A BEAD-FACED HYDRA?
I am not expertly versed with the law. But I am well informed on Ethics. And that would be the fulcrum of my argument. The argument that ethics can be sacrificed in the eye of overriding public interest is indeed valid. But this argument is offered nonchalantly with an actual proper investigation of this claim. It is this proper investigation I wish to offer.
I, foremost submit that the Anas method is laregely deficient of equity; and thus the defence of public interest must be used advisedly. An activity that is truly in the interest of the public must not unfairly indict or defame anyone. Equity is a central tenet of public interest. No activity whatsoever that lacks in fairness, balance and impartiality can be considered to be in the interest of the public.
The ‘public interest’ argument raised to defend the Anas method weakens because we are according unlimited unregulated power to one reporter. Granted, his intentions are noble. Granted, we need the essence of Anas. Granted, we need to weed out corruption. But we must be wary of creating an entity that may become way too powerful for our society. And that the only assurance of the Anas method remaining honourable quite ironically is the unblemished reputation of Anas himself.
Anas investigations break privacy laws, breach ethical codes and are hugely inconsistent with principles of equity. One of the inconsistencies of the Anas method is the application of persuasion. At what point does Anas stop and declare a subject as noble? Is his test of corruptibility solely arbitrary or there is a universal method for determining when the persuasion must end?
If his corruptibility test is simply arbitrary and self-informed, then we have a method prone to abuse and vindictiveness. Indeed, it can be seen in #Number12 that contrary to Sannie Daara's constant reminder that he cannot influence the Black Stars player selection and that he cannot accept the "gift", Tiger persuaded, not once, not twice, but persisted till Sannie ordered for the gift to be handed to an associate. Mr Daara was subsequently branded as corrupt and greedy by Tiger even though he didn't follow through to fix the player in the national team. This is a rather foxy interpretation of events that smacks of mudslinging.
It is interesting to note that such persistent persuasion was not applied, at least as shown in the video, to the only two people who resisted gifts i.e. referee JF Mensah and GFA ExCo member Lawyer Kwaku Eyiah. It is also interesting to note that both officials were offered the gifts in the full glare of public whereas others were visited in the comfort of their offices, where resistance will be reasonably low. Were these two officials spared to provide buffer and lend credence to the claim that "people with integrity" can pass the Anas test? Because I maintain that the Anas method in its current formula is almost insuperable.
The most worrying aspect in the method applied in #Number12 was Anas' use of Joshua Acquah, an ex club official of Hearts of Oak and exploited his existing relationship with his colleagues to offer 'gifts' to be later indicted. This method was particularly worrying because Anas went a step further in this exposé by employing friends/acquaintances of the officials to carry the inducement. This makes the test even more difficult. Most of the officials were accommodating because Acquah was a familiar face and because the monies offered were euphemistically described as "water money", "T & T", "transport fare" or Christmas gift. Many of these officials received these gifts from a familiar face sometimes without an agreement on a specific line of action only to find themselves thrown into the public as greedy officials.
I will not emphasise the allegation that Tiger Eye paid Joshua for this investigation because I have no evidence. But sources close to Acquah can attest to the sudden improvement in his quality of life. It is also rumoured that he has been flown out of the country; all of which was agreed on before the exposé. If these allegations are proven true, they would be very damning revelations because it is unethical for journalists to pay sources. Once a source is paid, their objectivity is compromised and the whole investigation thereafter becomes unwholesome.
Anas can engage in all these inconsistencies because we are falling to scrutinise his method. The Anas method sometimes does not feel like an investigation. It feels more of a confirmation mission which leaves little room for the subject to say no. An investigation must objective and fair. A mission is a preconceived task that must be finished at all costs. His unlimited freedom means he can keep disregarding laws and ethics as long as we have our constant serving of blockbuster secret filming every now and then.
Perhaps even more scary is the fact that Anas can intrude in any part of our society and that the only people who knew about it, guided his investigative direction, chose the targets and funded the expose were the Western Media? This is quite frankly a blunt threat to our sovereignty.
Almost every human would fail a corruption test if the Anas method is crafted right, especially with the use of friends. We must maintain an objective sense of equity and not wait till any of us or one of ours is entrapped before we bay like desert dogs.
I write this because I believe in Anas. Otherwise why would I care? But we must not allow our watchdog to grow into a hydra that would terrorise us all. We must put him on leash. We must sanitize his methods. We must do so now!
©Goddy Nana Mens 2018
#IAmAnas #Number12 #Anas #TheAnasMethod