From June 15 to 30, 2020, the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) monitored ethical violations on 26 news organisations made up of 10 Akan language radio stations, 10 newspapers and six news websites. A total of 963 pieces of content from the 26 organisations were monitored and analysed out of which 116 ethical violations were recorded.
Pro-NDC Power FM’s afternoon political talk show, Inside Politics, hosted by Mugabe Maase and the station’s current affairs programme, Battle Ground, hosted by Oheneba Barnie had the highest incidents of ethical violations of 13 and 12 violations respectively. Pro-NPP Oman FM’s Morning show, National Agenda hosted by Yaw Amofa, and Happy FM’s current affairs programme, Epa Ho a Daben programme, hosted by Nana Okatakyie Afrifa Mensah, also recorded 12 ethical violations each.
Overall, radio stations emerged as the worst perpetrators of ethical violations accounting for 70% of the violations recorded. This is followed by news websites (25%) with Ghanaweb.com as the main culprit accounting for 12 violations. The remaining five percent of violations came from the 10 newspapers .
The report also notes that hosts of many political talk shows and news anchors on radio are complicit in the use of unethical language on radio as they make no efforts at restraining panelists and interviewees who used inappropriate words on their programmes. In fact, some news anchors and radio show hosts were noted to be inciting and encouraging panelists and guests to make unethical and offensive statements.
The report further observes that editors of some news websites leave the comments sections of their pages unregulated making it a platform where readers often trade insults and peddle unsubstantiated allegations.
The monitoring of media ethics is part of a project titled: Enhancing media professionalism to inspire public confidence and support for press freedom in Ghana being implemented with funding support from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The objective of the project is to identify and highlight incidents of ethical infractions and draw attention to such breaches as a way of fostering adherence to ethical principles by media organisations.
The full report contains the specific ethical principles violated, the names of the media outlets that committed the violations, among other findings. Click here to access the full report. The instrument being used for the monitoring, which contains the category definitions for tracking and reporting of ethical principles is also available here.
For further clarifications and media interviews, contact Programme Manager, Vivian Affoah (0244896588), or Programme Officer, Kwaku Krobea Asante (0249484528).