An Accra High Court, presided over by Justice Eric Baah, has described the kind of journalism done by Anas Aremeyaw Anas as ‘investigative terrorism’ and not ‘investigative journalism’.
The court has dismissed Anas Aremeyaw Anas’s GHC25 million defamatory suit against the MP for Assin Central in the Central Region, Kennedy Agyapong.
Anas, in 2018, dragged the lawmaker to court for allegedly defaming him. In his application, Anas prayed to the court to award aggravated damages of GHC25 million to compensate for the defamatory material published against him by the MP.
Blackmailer, corrupt, evil
In a lengthy ruling delivered today Wednesday 15 March 2023, Justice Eric Baah held that the plaintiff [Anas Aremeyaw Anas] failed to prove that Ken Agyapong defamed him by airing the documentary – “Who watches the watchman” – but rather, the documentary exposed shady deals that Anas and his associates were involved in.
The court further held that Agyapong provided sufficient evidence to prove that the plaintiff used the findings of his work to solicit money from persons implicated in the evidence gathered by him.
The evidence, according to the court, also proved that those who were able to pay the sums of money demanded by Anas and his associates, got exempted from videos that were shown to the public.
The court concluded that what Anas is engaged in is not investigative journalism but rather investigative terrorism and that Agyapong was justified to call Anas “a blackmailer, corrupt, an extortionist, and evil”.
“I find the claims by the plaintiff [Anas Aremeyaw Anas) meritless and they are hereby dismissed” Justice Baah ruled.
According to Anas, Agyapong on 29 May 2018, during a live programme in Twi on Adom TV, categorically stated that he [Anas] was a blackmailer, corrupt, an extortionist, and evil.
According to the statement of claim filed by the lawyers of Anas, the defendant, similarly, Mr. Agyapong published defamatory words on 31 May 2018, on Oman FM, a private radio station owned by the defendant [KennedyAgyapong].
The statement of claim also stated that the defendant published more defamatory materials against the plaintiff via other platforms to the extent of releasing pictures purported to be those of the investigative journalist in his bid to blow the latter’s cover.
Anas indicated in his statement of claim that his reputation, especially as a lawyer and as a globally acclaimed investigative journalist, has been egregiously damaged.
“Furthermore, Anas indicate that following the publication, he was inundated with numerous calls from business associates, journalists around the world, social relations, friends, outright strangers, and he has had to answer very mortifying questions,” the statement of claim said.
According to Anas Aremeyaw Anas, Mr. Agyapong published the words complained of knowing them to be false and reckless.
Lawyers of Kennedy Agyapong after the ruling asked the court to award cost of 1 million Ghana cedis against the plaintiff [Anas Aremeyaw Anas].
Lawyer for the Anas Aremeyaw Anas when he stood on his feet offered to pay Ghc 20,000.00 as cost.
Justice Eric Baah indicated that since the award of cost in such civil cases is at the discretion of the court, he will award cost of GHc 50,000.00 against the plaintiff [Anas Aremeyaw Anas].