The Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Sulemana Braimah has commended Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ decision to appeal the verdict of the case he filed against Assin Central MP, Kennedy Agyapong.
According to Mr. Braimah, the court ruling raised a lot of questions since it moved away from the defamation case to the method Anas uses to obtain information.
“So there are a lot of questions in relation to this ruling. I am happy I am hearing that they [Tiger Eye P.I] are thinking of filing an appeal and I think that will be the right thing to do,” he said.
Speaking on JoyNews’ Newsfile on Saturday, he stressed that the judgment moved beyond issues of defamation to that of criminality which might impact the practice of investigative journalism in the country.
“For me, the whole thing is quite curious and one cannot say, but can take this a step further, because really as I said, from the beginning, it moves beyond the whole question of establishing the defamation to getting into issues of criminal conduct and all of that journalistic methodologies. And it certainly would have a significant implication on journalism in this country” he said.
The Executive Director of MFWA added that in the practice of investigative journalism, the approaches used to obtain information were constantly reviewed by practitioners to improve the practice and the high court judge ruling had suggested a particular method be used.
“Yes, we have debates and questions about the methods but note, just like this decision, we are debating it and how we improve the profession.
“It is right to argue about theories to argue about methods and that is how we evolve, change things, amend things,” he said.
It would be recalled that in 2018, investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas dragged the vociferous lawmaker, Kennedy Agyapong to court for defamation in the “Who watches the watchman?” documentary and demanded GH¢25 million in damages.
But the court in its ruling on Wednesday, March 15, 2023, said the suit lacks merit.
The judge, therefore, dismissed the defamation suit.
The judge, Justice Eric Baah, also upheld arguments by Mr. Agyapong that Anas is an extortionist and a blackmailer.
“What the plaintiff is doing is not investigative journalism but investigative terrorism.
“It is [an] exercise of indirect political power under the cloak of journalism,” the Justice of the Court of Appeal who was sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court judge said in his judgment.
He, however, noted that although the words spoken against Anas were factual and capable of defamation, they could not be proven.
The presiding judge subsequently awarded costs of GH¢50,000 against Anas.
Meanwhile, Investigative Journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas says his defamation suit against Mr. Agyapong, is far from over.
In a short video uploaded on Facebook, Anas says he will appeal the case.
Mr. Aremeyaw Anas is of the view that the judgement appeared to be a criminal pronouncement against him although he was a plaintiff in the defamation suit.
“Although the news about the dismissal of our defamation suit against the Member of Parliament was unexpected, I disagree with the judge’s reason based on law and the facts.
“My team of lawyers and I have carefully studied the judgement delivered by the court and we are unanimous that the judge made an overreach and descended into the arena and made a criminal pronouncement about me as if I was standing a criminal trial,” he said.