In many African countries journalists work on dangerous ground, caught in a profession dominated by various kinds of state influence on media, editors with small budgets and – not uncommonly – intimidation, beatings, imprisonment and death threats. Still, working undercover and using hidden cameras, they expose elaborate frauds and criminal conspiracies, child trafficking, abuse of minorities and high level official corruption. Africa Investigates, a new series kicked by Al Jazeera, gives a voice to these voiceless.
Al Jazeera is convinced that African Journalists for too long
had to sit idly by while Africa’s story has been told by Western correspondents, ‘parachuted in’ for the purpose, who reinforce stereotypical views about African peoples and their supposed inability to face up to and solve their own problems.
Now, determined to tell their own story, Africa Investigates reporters will correct that impression. Working undercover and using hidden cameras, they will expose elaborate frauds and criminal conspiracies, child trafficking, abuse of minorities and high level official corruption. And in the process they hope they will help make African institutions, businesses and politicians more accountable and susceptible to pressure to change things for the better.”
“What Price the Story?”
The first round of Africa Investigates follows Anas Aremeyaw Anas, a Ghanaian journalist famous for keeping his identity secret but who nevertheless has been praised by President Barack Obama for his tireless investigations of corruption, and Stanley Kwenda, a Zimbabwean journalist who was forced to flee his country after writing critical articles about its leader, Robert Mugabe.
Both of their extraordinary films show a side of Africa that is rarely seen – in Anas’s case throwing a spotlight on an audacious scam to defraud foreign gold investors of millions of dollars and in Stanley’s case a remarkable and tragic story about child trafficking and people smuggling.
Like the other journalists in the series, some of whom will have to remain anonymous for security reasons, they believe that strong investigative journalism can have a dramatic and beneficial effect on some of the continent’s problems.