The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has strongly defended the title of its latest investigative documentary, ‘Sex for Grades’, stating that the title was appropriate and their aim for the investigation was achieved.
“We stand by our journalism; we’ve done the research and we’re happy with what we’ve produced,” Mayeni Jones, Co-producer of the investigative film, told TV3’s Alfred Ocansey.
There has widespread criticisms of the investigative piece which exposed four professors of the University of Ghana and University of Lagos in Nigeria, sexually harassing their students.
Communications Professor and founder of the Media Foundation for West Africa, Kwame Kakari, has also described the BBC’s sex for grades documentary as a piece which does not fit to be called a journalistic work.
According to him, the method employed by the BBC in producing the documentary cannot be used by them [BBC] in other parts of the world including the UK, Europe and the USA.
“I have a difficulty accepting that the method of creating a scenario and calling it journalism can be accepted as journalism. I’m wondering if the BBC would apply the same method to subjects in the UK or in Europe or in North America. I’ve not seen the BBC using this method of somebody posing as a journalist, exposing something, and the BBC covering that journalist.”
“In investigative journalism, the journalist is known by the subject that the journalist is investigating, in other words the journalist doesn’t hide. So how come the BBC is saying they are creating a scenario on one hand and calling it what it claims to be?,” he quizzed.
Professor Ransford Gyampo, one of the lecturers captured in the video has vowed to sue the BBC claiming that there is no evidence that he was soliciting for sex in exchange for grades.
But according to the BBC the title is fit and proper because that is what has widely been used in West Africa to describe sexual harassment of students by university lecturers.
“We used the term ‘sex for grades’ because it is a term that is well known across West Africa when it comes to sexual harassment of students by university professors.
“What we wanted to show was that university professors were using their position of power and influence to sexually harass students and the video evidence that we gathered and the script that we put forward for this documentary, does indeed prove this in our opinion…it was very clear…that what we were trying to prove was that there was a problem of sexual harassment.”