Cogent Social Sciences (Jan 2020)

Investigative journalism in ghana: balancing public interest and individual privacy

  • Samuel Appiah Darko

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 6, no. 1


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This paper examines the complexity of balancing public interest and individual rights in the use of investigative journalism to combat corruption. The paper looks at a number of public interest journalism exposés and the various methods that the investigative journalists used to uncover corruption in public and private institutions in the country. The principal assumption of this paper is that undercover journalism, pushes journalism ethics to the limit by employing methods that are regarded as both morally and legally wrong. These involve covert surveillance or sting operations during which the journalist hides his identity, invasion of the privacy, and recording or filming people without their consent. This paper examines these investigative techniques under the lense of codes of ethics for journalists as well as constitutional provisions, legislation and judicial pronouncements. It particularly examined how the courts, including precedents from other commonwealth countries, have handled the invasion of privacy under the legal principle of public interest as well as any other exceptions anticipated by law.The paper used largely the work of the country’s foremost undercover journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, to examine the legal basis of investigative reporting which in turn provide insight into investigate journalism practices, ethics, public interest, the right of the public to know, and individual right to privacy.