Invited by ZAM Magazine, we are delighted to have the renowned undercover investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas with us. Yesterday evening he was at De Zwijger speaking about his job. Saturday 7 March we will show the IDFA documentary ‘Chameleon’ made of him by Ryan Mullins.
The Ghanaian Anas infiltrates criminal scenes the world over to ‘name, shame and jail’. His work appears in newpapers and on television. Among other international awards, it won him the US State Department Hero Award on Trafficking. Hot on the trail of gold scammers, cocoa smugglers and deformed child murderers, his work is extremely dangerous. He practises anonimity over the years. When he speaks in public, he wears a mask. He regularly works for the BBC, CNN and All Jazeera. His work has put Chinese human traffickers behind bars for 41 years.
How do you deal with the tensions of his work?
“I always abide by the rules of undercover journalism. That is the only way to do it. I make sure I have learned my character very well before I start on a project."
Whom do you collaborate with?
My stories have to have a positive effect on society. If I have to collaborate with the police or security services, I will do it. But I will also collaborate with thieves or murderers as long as it serves my gathering evidence. I finish every investigation and then present the evidence to authorities for prosecution.
What is your drive?
I want to contribute to a society that has minimal corruption and abuse. And I want my work to have a positive impact on the lives of people in the community. In Ghana, when you take a bribe, you look left and right because I could be catching you.
What do you do to relax?
It is an adreneline-filled job. You have to be on edge all the time. It pushes you but then you look around and realise that there are women and children need you to do this.
I have a farm in the heart of Ghana. Sometimes I will have one or two days break. And then two or three subjects pop up again.
What is the biggest subject you have been working on?
This is an African story that is now about to come out after three years of research. I can’t say any more about it, as this is very dangerous.