People’s reliance on newspapers for information keeps declining as a recent survey by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has revealed that only 1.5% of Ghanaians resort to such medium for information.
The conclusion was drawn after a survey on media effectiveness in Ghana’s democracy.
A total of 2,910 Ghanaians of 18 years and above drawn from all ten regions of the country were surveyed, and were asked various questions bordering on professionalism, neutrality and efficiency of the media.
In sum, the survey found 62.9% of Ghanaians regarded radio as their primary source of information. 48% of that found it credible, 30% found it neutral and 19.4% found radio partisan.
Of the 25% of people who primarily rely on television, 45.8% found it credible, 37.8 neutral and 14.2% found it partisan.
Only 6.4% of Ghanaians use the internet and social media as their primary source of information. 3.4% primarily rely on family and friends for information, and worryingly, 1.5% of Ghanaians use Newspapers as their primary source of information.
Of that 1.5%, 56.8% believe Newspapers to be credible, 34.1% neutral and 6.8% believe it to be partisan.
As much as 55.5% of Ghanaians believe that there should be curbs on media freedom, while 35.02% disagreed with curbing media freedom. 9.48% did not know whether or not media freedom should be curbed.
Discussing the findings, former Chairman of the National Media Commission, Ambassador Kabral Blay-Amihere, said it was a dangerous move for any nation to seek to curb media freedom.
In the particular case of Ghana, he said that Ghana’s constitution had specifically protected media freedom and access to information and any attempts at curbing, or seeking to curb or control the media would be in direct contravention of that protected right.
“I agree that we need to strengthen our regulatory methods and this I can tell you the NMC is working seriously on. But even where we try to bring regulation, it should never undermine the letter and spirit of the constitution that guarantees people’s access to free speech. I am not saying that we are in a perfect zone yet. There are problems, there are infractions; but the approach of the NMC and of the constitution seeks to inject sanity and promote professionalism, not curb people’s right to free speech and free press”.
Contributing to the issue, Prof. Kwame Karikari of the University of Ghana Department of Communications said it was necessary that the media policed itself.
According to him, self-check measures, including codes of conduct, should be instituted by both the media owners and other interested-bodies like the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), and the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) to check misconduct and promote professionalism.
Madam Audrey Gadzekpo, also of the University of Ghana Department of Communications, on the other hand, was excited at the high level endorsements handed the media by Ghanaians. She said that the figures demonstrated “an overwhelming endorsement of the media”.
The survey report; “Accessing the Effectiveness of the Media in Ghana’s Democracy”, was launched at the NCCE’s 5th Dialogue Series in Accra.
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