Investigative journalists have been regarded as some as the heroes that have impacted the course of history and others still regard them as the villains that have aggressively infiltrated closed entities to uncover information. But these folks have sometimes put their own safety at risk in an effort to make sure that companies and governments operate with integrity. People like Woodward, Nellie Bly and Bernstein and have made great sacrifices to get at the truth.
In 2013, TED Talks welcomed Anas Aremeyaw Anas, undercover on the stage, to share with audiences his life-risking stories of working in investigative journalism in Ghana to expose issues of corruption in government, organizations and in the justices system where bribery and abuse reign.
The Huffington Post opened the floor to opinion in inviting writers to submit essays analysing the work of people like Anas and offering their thoughts on reporting of this nature. The summaries of the essays, printed in HuffPost online, are as follows:
Anas shares his story of how he used his ability to disguise himself to infiltrate a maximum ecurity prison in Thailand, acting as a member of the clergy, to speak with inmates about their horrific experiences while incarcerated. He describes his experience as an investigative journalist and relies on his anonymity to further uncover stories of misuse of power underlying some of the most trusted institutions.
Mr. Miraldi writes an essay describing Sy Hersh’s tireless battle to uncover wrongdoing and atrocities perpetrated by the military and other powers, throughout the course of his long-standing career. Hersh won a Pulitzer Prize in 1969 for his work on the cover-up of the My Lai massacre at Vietnam.
Fadil takes a critical look at the work of Anas Aremeyaw Anas and analyzes the risk that one takes as working in this journalistic capacity, not only to one’s well-being but also to one’s sense of perspective. He introduces the questions of privacy invasion, breaking laws and protecting the innocent. He raises the issues of balancing justice with evidence in reporting on wrongdoing.
In his essay, Jonathan Weiler looks at journalism and accountability. He explores the issues of value judgement and the control of news outlets to determine what they deem of interest to public consumption. Through examples of Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald, he asks the question of determining how a journalist can be sure the he is maintaining objectivity in reporting and not imposing his own personal values in sharing his findings.
These essays provide a viewpoint on the potential benefits inherent in the writings and careers of those who act in the interest of exposing corruption. They consider the very fine line of ethics and objectivity that one must continuously bear in complete consciousness when pursuing and writing exposés for public consumption. While there is, without question, a heroic commitment to the tracking down the truth, there also lays a tenuous obsessive quality that must be closely guarded.