Ghana 2020 Elections: Abusive Language on Radio Drops Further in Post-Election Discussions

After months of campaigning and heated political media conversations, Ghanaians on December 7, 2020 re-elected the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) for a second four-year term albeit protests from the major opposition party – National Democratic Congress (NDC).

The Media Foundation for West Africa’s monitoring of political discourse on radio in post-election month (January 2021) showed a huge decline in use of abusive language, the lowest since the beginning of the language monitoring exercise in June 2020. The monitoring showed that some of the radio stations cited for abusive language in previous reports had stopped their political programmes completely while others reduced the frequency of such programmes on their network. Again, some leading perpetrators of abusive language after the December polls no longer featured on the political discussion shows.

The Media Foundation for West Africa’s (MFWA) Language monitoring on radio sought to promote issues-based campaigning and use of decent language/expression before, during and after Ghana’s 2020 elections.

For the month of January (1-31), a total of 2,715 radio programmes were monitored on 60 selected radio stations across the country. The programmes monitored included news bulletins, and political/current affairs discussions aired on the 60 radio stations. A total of 19 indecent expressions were recorded by 16 individuals. The 19 indecent expressions were made up of Unsubstantiated Allegations; Insulting and Offensive Comments and Comment Inciting Violence. The 16 individuals who made the indecent expressions featured on the radio programmes as hosts, discussants/panelists and interviewees.

The major opposition party, National Democratic Congress (NDC) recorded eleven (11) indecent expressions; followed by the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) with (4); and the United Front Party (UFP) and the Progressive People’s Party recorded an indecent remark each.

Thirteen (13) out of the 60 stations monitored over the 31-day period recorded the 19 indecent expressions. Accra based Oman FM recorded three incidents across two programmes Boiling Point (2) and National Agenda (1). Goaso-based Genesis Radio and Nkawkaw-based Obuoba FM recorded three indecent expressions each on their morning shows Genesis in the Morning and Obuoba Kasa respectively. Kumasi based Ashh FM and Accra based Power FM followed with two incidents each on Boiling Point and Dwaboase programmes respectively.

The MFWA’s Language monitoring project was implemented with funding support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), and STAR Ghana Foundation with funding from UKAID and EU, and USAID through CDD-Ghana.

Details of the full report is available here

The instrument being used for the monitoring, which contains the category definitions for the tracking and reporting of indecent language on radio is also available here.

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