A year ago, Jon Ossoff was in a national media spotlight as the Democrat making an unlikely – and ultimately unsuccessful – competitive run for the local 6th Congressional District seat. Today, the Brookhaven resident is the one putting a media spotlight on major issues as CEO of an award-winning producer of film and TV documentaries about international crime and corruption.
Ossoff and his company, Insight TWI, are enjoying a remarkable month. Insight TWI just won a One World Media Award – a coveted prize for documentaries – for a BBC feature on sex crimes and genocide committed by ISIS in Iraq. And a BBC broadcast of a new Insight TWI-produced documentary on corrupt soccer officials in Ghana shook the sports world just days before FIFA announced the 2026 World Cup will be partly staged in the U.S., possibly with some games played in Atlanta.
Speaking by phone as he traveled to pick up the award in London – and right after arranging security for the undercover investigator who revealed the soccer corruption – Ossoff said it’s fulfilling to work with journalists who, when necessary, are “willing to take risks and push the limits.”
“I think that corruption and self-dealing are at the heart of a lot of the dysfunction and suffering in the world today, and it’s impunity, it’s a lack of accountability, that feeds it,” he said. “And I think that where law enforcement lacks the will or the capacity to deter or punish it, journalists need to take on some of that responsibility.”
That’s the broad mission of Insight TWI, which has won Emmys, a Peabody and a BAFTA award since its 1991 founding. Ossoff, who became its CEO in 2013, says it focuses on investigations of “official corruption, organized crime and war crimes” and “features and highlights work of local reporters rather than parachuting in.”
Among the topics of its documentaries in recent years, Ossoff says: corrupt officials stealing U.S.-funded food and medical aid; death squads and extrajudicial killings by criminal gangs and security forces in South Africa, Kenya, Mexico and El Salvador; and quack doctors who kill and mutilate women in Nigeria and Colombia.
The One World Media Award in the Popular Features category that Ossoff and other Insight TWI representatives accepted June 18 was for the BBC-broadcast “Stacey Dooley: Face to Face with ISIS.” The documentary followed a woman, long held as a sex slave by ISIS members, as she confronted one of its commanders in prison.
As a producer, Insight TWI provides resources to journalists and arranges broadcast deals, working especially frequently with the BBC. Sometimes the broadcaster commissions a documentary; sometimes Insight TWI offers one. The company is based in London, with small offices in the African nation of Ghana and in Ossoff’s Brookhaven home.
As CEO, Ossoff does not do any of the reporting or investigating. He’s a manager who oversees the documentaries, works with the journalists who make them, and negotiates the broadcast and distribution deals. But that work can be quite hands-on, especially when dealing with threats to the journalists who make anti-corruption documentaries.
“I do tend to get involved where there are serious health or safety issues,” said Ossoff.
In fact, he had just done exactly that in Ghana in response to threats that followed the broadcast of the new documentary “Betraying the Game,” about corrupt soccer officials.
Revealing soccer bribery
“Betraying the Game” focuses on an investigation by Anas Aremeyaw Anas, an acclaimed – and controversial — Ghanaian journalist known for culture-rocking undercover exposés, including one where he caught many judges accepting bribes. Because he relies on remaining anonymous for undercover stings, Anas appears in public only while wearing a mask made of strings of beads.
“He is a master of deep investigations, deep undercover investigations,” said Ossoff, who counts Anas as a colleague and friend of many years. “He is an extraordinary character… He’s an asset to his country and the world.”
In “Betraying the Game,” Anas and colleagues, posing as supporters of beloved teams, found soccer referees willing to accept unsolicited cash bribes. Working their way up the ladder, they show footage convinced a member of the FIFA Council – the group that organizes international soccer tournaments, including the World Cup – to accept a bag of $65,000 in cash as part of a scheme to set up a shell company to divert soccer sponsorship money to himself. The official, Kwesi Nyantakyi, later denied accepting the money as a bribe and claimed Anas tried to blackmail him.
Three hours before the documentary aired on the BBC, Ossoff says, the government of Ghana announced it was dissolving the national soccer association. FIFA has provisionally suspended the council member shown accepting the cash.
“I was in Ghana as all of this unfolded,” said Ossoff. “It’s rewarding to see the direct impact of that journalism.”
It can also be threatening; Ossoff was in Ghana to work with U.S. officials and journalist rights organizations to assure Anas’s safety. As the documentary itself shows, Anas’s undercover methods are sometimes criticized as unethical and the results have sometimes inspired death threats.
“Anas’s techniques are controversial. He operates at the aggressive end of the spectrum of journalistic techniques. It’s worth noting he has his critics,” Ossoff said of the decision to include some of them in the documentary. “Now, personally, I think his work speaks for itself.”
Anas’s documentary is far from the only report on corruption in FIFA and such related international sports events as the Olympics. FIFA was rocked with a major scandal in 2015 when U.S. authorities brought charges against several top officials and accused them of bribery schemes related to staging and broadcasting games in the Americas.
Ossoff says that the body of journalism and law enforcement reports make it clear that “corruption is endemic in international soccer” and that it is important that viewers of Anas’s documentary realize it is not just an “African problem.”
“You saw in the footage just how commonplace, how pervasive, this culture was — that it was just normal for referees to be taking money in violation of rules for how the game is supposed to be conducted,” Ossoff said.
As the World Cup heads to the U.S. – and maybe Atlanta – in 2026, Ossoff says he hopes “that journalists and law enforcement officials will be vigilant that this [event] … be conducted ethically and transparently.”
The state of journalism
Working in various countries gives Ossoff a broad view of journalism quality and freedom. While the U.S. has its First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of the press, Ossoff notes that the reality can be different. He says the BBC, despite its faults, has “got pretty much the most stringent editorial standards of any news organization in the Western world.”
And the journalism rights group Reporters Without Borders ranks Ghana as 23rd in the world for press freedom, well above the U.S. at number 45, on such standards as transparency, independence, self-censorship and threats or violence against journalists.
“I think that American journalism broadly is failing to hold leaders accountable [and is] focused on the wrong things, and generally not living up to its obligation to the public… I think it’s a pretty dismal scene, to be honest with you,” Ossoff said.
Comparing the “starving” of U.S. public broadcasting with the BBC, he said, “I regret that the UK and not the US has the most prestigious and capable news-gathering and reporting organization in the world.”
For more about Insight TWI and to view “Betraying the Game,” see insighttwi.com.