Ghana: Abusive Language on Radio Declines in the Month of Election

The December Edition of the Media Foundation for West Africa’s (MFWA) Language monitoring project has observed a decline in the use of abusive language on radio. In the month when Ghana’s presidential and parliament elections were held, the overall number of indecent expressions dropped by 26%, from (85) in November to (63) in December.

A total of 2,642 radio programmes were monitored on 60 selected radio stations across the country from December 1- 31. The programmes monitored included news bulletins, and political/current affairs discussions aired on the 60 radio stations. A total of 63 indecent expressions were recorded by 35 individuals. The 63 indecent expressions were made up of Unsubstantiated Allegations; Insulting and Offensive Comments; Comments Inciting Violence; Threats and a Provocative Remark. The 35 individuals who made the indecent expressions featured on the radio programmes as hosts, discussants/panelists, interviewees and callers.

The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) recorded the highest number of indecent expressions (22) followed by the major opposition party, National Democratic Congress (NDC) with (14); and the United Front Party (UFP) recorded five (5) indecent expressions.

Most abusive personalities on radio for the month of December included Hon. Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, MP for Assin Central; Bernard Antwi Boasiako, also known as Chairman Wontumi, NPP Ashanti Regional Chairman and Joshua Hamidu Akamba, NDC National Organizer.

Eighteen (18) out of the 60 stations monitored over the 31-day period recorded the 63 indecent expressions. 43 (68%) out of the 63 indecent expressions were contributed by the partisan radio stations. Accra based Oman FM topped with (18) incidents across three programmes Boiling Point (10), National Agenda (7) and Election Reference Centre (1). Ashh FM situated in Kumasi recorded (11) indecent expressions across two programmes Boiling Point (10) which was picked from Oman FM and Keynote (1). Kumasi based Wontumi Radio recorded (8) incidents on its morning show. Power FM based in Accra recorded (7) indecent expressions across two programmes 2020 Elections Coverage (5) and Inside Politics (2). Accra FM also recorded (6) indecent expressions across three programmes The Citizen Show (4), CMG Election Strong Room (Ghana Elects) (1) and Mid-day /12pm News (1).

The MFWA’s Language monitoring on radio seeks to promote issues-based campaigning and use of decent language/expression before, during and after Ghana’s 2020 elections. In Ghana, the project is being 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 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. For further clarifications and media interviews, contact the Programme Manager, Abigail Larbi Odei (0244867047) or Programme Officer, Kwaku Krobea Asante (0249484528).

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