Ghana: MFWA partners National Peace Council, others to host forum on hate speech and democratic consolidation

The Ghanaian media space continues to witness incidents of hate speech and indecent forms of expression that have the potential to incite people to violence or cause harm.  These indecent expressions including insults and offensive remarks, provocative remarks, ethnic derogation, and gender-specific insults are usually propagated by individuals or groups with parochial interests, and political party communicators. Partisan and politically affiliated media platforms also fan, fuel and circulate such expressions on their platforms.

In April this year, for instance, Ghana’s Minister of Agriculture, Bryan Acheampong, during a rally by his party in the Eastern Region – the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) – made provocative statement on to the effect that “his party will retain power at all cost in the upcoming 2024 elections in Ghana”. Similarly, in October 2022, Ghana’s media regulator, National Media Commission, issued a strong press release to condemn and caution against the “increasing weaponization of the media in the Bawku [a town in North-east of Ghana] conflict”. The regulator particularly bemoaned the escalation in incidences of hate speech, disinformation and incitement on radio, adding that the situation posed “a clear and present danger to the Bawku community”.

During electioneering years, hate speech in its various forms is more pronounced, increasing the tension and volatility in such periods. For instance, data from the Media Foundation for West Africa’s monitoring of hate speech and indecent expressions in Ghana over three elections years, cites insulting/offensive comments, unsubstantiated allegations, comments inciting violence and provocative remarks as the most frequently used indecent expressions against political opponents.

Given the potential of hate speech to lay grounds for conflicts, tensions, and wide-scale human rights violations and also threaten peace and democratic values, the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) in partnership with the National Media Commission (NMC), the National Peace Council (NPC) and the National House of Chiefs will on Wednesday, June 14, 2023, convene a public forum on the theme: Media, Hate Speech and Democratic Governance in Ghana.


The forum will bring together about 150 participants, including governance and media experts, the diplomatic corps, legal experts, CSOs, public/state institutions, political parties, journalists, and human rights experts to deliberate on the phenomenon of hate speech and make actionable recommendations on how Ghana can build resilience against its debilitating effects on democratic consolidation.

The forum will be chaired by the Chairman of the National Peace Council, Rev. Dr. Ernest Adu-Gyamfi, with the keynote address delivered by the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Ghana, Mr. Charles Abani. Key political party actors and religious groups will be given the opportunity to make Commitment to Peace statements as the country prepares towards the 2024 general elections.

The forum is supported by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA). It will be broadcast live on JoyNews TV and Joy FM.

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