The Media Foundation for West Africa says its objective for introducing a rating regime for media houses and radio presenters is to ensure that sanity and decorum prevails in the media as the nation heads for the polls in December.
The Foundation on Thursday outdoored its new ranking of some selected radio stations and presenters in the country.
Deputy Director of the Media Foundation Sulemana Briamah told XYZ News that it went through a rigorous and professional monitoring exercise for a week to arrive at their conclusions.
He said their findings indicated that Asempa FM came up low in the category that allows vituperations; and Citi FM was also rated low in the category of media houses that allow indecent speeches on their airwaves.
Read the full report released by the Foundation
Promoting Issues-Based and Decent Language Campaigning in Ghana’s 2012 Elections
SUMMARY OF MONITORING REPORT FOR APRIL 1 TO 7, 2012
About a month ago, the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) launched its project on: “Promoting Issues-based and Decent Language Campaigning for a Peaceful, Free and Fair Elections in Ghana in 2012,” funded by Star-Ghana. The project was informed by the increasing resort to indecent expressions among political activists in elections-related and general political discussions, particularly on radio.
The project involves daily monitoring of campaign language or expressions by politicians and activists on specific programmes on 31 radio stations across the country. The monitoring also includes assessing the conduct of the stations that are being monitored. To ensure that the monitoring is reliable and credible, a comprehensive monitoring instrument was developed through the support of language experts from the University of Ghana, the Ghana Bureau of Languages and a Consultant from the School of Communication Studies.
The monitoring instrument was presented at a public forum for validation by key stakeholders including the National Media Commission, Ghana Journalists’ Association, Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association, Religious Bodies, Political Parties, CODEO, and other Civil Society Organisations.
Following the validation of the instrument, 31 persons were selection and training of as monitors of the selected radio stations (one monitor for each radio station being monitored). The selection of the monitors was rigorous and meticulous to ensure that known activists or supporters of political parties were not included, and also to ensure that those selected had at least, the basic requirement to understand and use the monitoring instrument. For example, all monitors have a university degree.
The main objective for this project is to contribute to ensuring issues-based and decent language campaigning in the 2012 elections, by monitoring and exposing political parties, activists and radio stations that use indecent expressions. Weekly reports from all the monitors are analysed by the MFWA and presented to the public through the media.
The weekly reports are aimed at sensitising the public to know which political party, candidates or radio stations, are the most abusive in their expressions and are thus not focusing attention on the issues of importance to the majority of our citizens. The reports, it is hoped, will also help citizens make informed voter decisions, and provide credible evidence for the appropriate institutions and groups to take informed remedial actions.
Monitored acts of indecent/decent expressions (April 1 to 7, 2012)
Findings of monitoring reports received and analysed showed that indecent expressions occurred predominantly during morning and evening discussion programmes aired in the Akan language. Typically, indecent expressions recorded on morning programmes were expressions calling for confrontations and violence while evening and night discussion programmes featured mainly insulting and offensive comments. In both cases, there were instances of provocative comments.
Overall, a total of 22 indecent expressions were recorded. These expressions ranged from:
• Provocative remarks (i.e remarks made with the likelihood of eliciting angry responses from persons against whom such remarks are made).
• Insulting and offensive comments
• Remarks calling for confrontation and violence
• Expressions or comments promoting divisiveness
There were also seven incidents of comments considered pacifist, conciliatory, civil and non-provocative.
Breakdown of types of expressions monitored:
Nature of Language used on the programme
Pacifist and conciliatory
Civil and acceptable
Insulting and offensive comments
Expressions or comments promoting divisiveness
Remarks calling for confrontation and violence
Examples of Expressions recorded
Remarks calling for confrontation and violence
• On April 2, 2012 on Oman FM’s National Agenda, Samuel Awuku of the NPP said, “NPP supporters should squarely meet their NDC opponents when they try to harass them at the registration centres.” “NPP leaders should permit radicals in their party to prove their equal worth of violence.”
• Odeneho Kwaku Appiah (NPP activist) who called into Kessben FM’s Maakye programme held on April 5, 2012, said, “Fight anybody who dares to take the biometric machine(s).”
• On Citi Breakfast News of April 6, 2012, Alhaji Issa Mohammed Saani of the NDC said “… if the police do not take proper action now, then we can advise ourselves.”
• Ato Ahwoi of the NDC on Citi FM’s News Night of April 5, 2012 said, “… he [K.T. Hammond of the NPP] is unpatriotic Ghanaian and Ghanaians should even hoot at him.”
• On Citi FM’s Eye Witness News of April 4, Michael Teye Nyaunu, NDC MP for Lower Manya Krobo asked, “Should I vote for a goat?”
• On the Super Morning Drive Newspaper Review segment on Radio Progress aired on April 5, 2012, the host, Gabriel Ngmini repeatedly played a sound bite of Michael Teye Nyaunu which said “if my party puts a goat and hang NDC symbol on, should I vote for him?”
• John Boadu of the NPP said on Oman FM’s Boiling Point programme aired on April 3, 2012, “When salt falls into the sea, it is not lost. As a beneficiary of NPP’s eight years in office, Torgbui Afede turns round to say Ewes felt like strangers when H.E. John Agyekum Kuffour was president now that NDC is in power.”
Insulting and offensive comments (and name calling)
• On North Star radio’s Hot Issues programme aired on April 5, 2012, Alifu Abraham of the PPP said that “Rawlings is a barking dog.”
• On April 4, on Royal FM, Chris Dugan of FONKAR said to Sulemana of the NDC, Wenchi branch, during the Adekyea Mu programme “He should shut up there! He is an imposter!” “You are a Pharisee.” “He is a buffoon.”
• Solomon Nkansah of the NDC said on Peace FM’s Kokrokoo morning show said “Kuffuor ye kookoo ase kuraseni [Kuffuor is a villager from a cocoa village].”
• “Bawumia is a liar” was said by Maxwell Nibe of the NDC on the Super Morning Drive Newspaper Review segment on Radio Progress aired on April 5, 2012.
• Kwabena Bomfeh of the CPP referred to the President as someone who enjoys lies and has been a beneficiary of lies propagated by his party activists. He also said that the president is the most wicked man on earth.
• Fred Abubakar Tahiru of the NPP said on North Star’s Hot Issues of April 5, 2012 that “Nii Lantey vandapouije & his ... criminals…”
• On Citi FM’s Eye Witness News of April 4, Michael Teye Nyaunu, NDC MP for Lower Manya Krobo said, “There are too many sycophants, hypocrites and outright cowards in the NDC.”
Radio stations and incidence of indecent expressions
The findings show that Accra-based Asempa FM registered the highest number of insulting and offensive expressions on its network while Citi FM recorded the highest number of remarks calling for confrontation and violence. Fox FM in Kumasi and Ankobra FM in Axim were the stations on which conciliatory comments were recorded.
Tone of Language
In addition to monitoring the language used, the tone used on the airwaves was also assessed. The findings show that the tone used on the programmes was generally threatening/overbearing/swearing, adversarial/harsh/provocative and unfavourable even though most of the hosts/ presenters were found to be using more conciliatory and pacifist tone.
More than a third of the adversarial, harsh, provocative tone were used by discussants/callers who are affiliated to the NPP (35.7%) and NDC (35%). A significant number of the NPP and NDC discussants/callers also used threatening, overbearing, swearing tones. With regard to specific programmes and the tone used during such programmes, the Citi Breakfast Show registered more threatening, overbearing, swearing tones.
Subject of discussion:
Stories/discussions on the biometric voter registration elicited the highest number (40%) of remarks calling for confrontation and violence. Discussions/comments on the NPP flagbearer’s remark ‘All Die Be Die’ registered the majority of insults and offensive comments of all the programmes and stories coded.
MFWA is however pleased to note that findings from the first week of monitoring have shown that most of the programmes focussed more on issues (33.3%) than personalities (25.9%).
The MFWA will also like to commend Fox FM in Kumasi and Ankobra FM in Axim for being the radio stations that recorded the most civil and pacifist languages on their network. We also want to encourage all radio stations across the country and the respective hosts/presenters to insist and ensure that language used on their networks promote peace and dignity in our political discourse.
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