The Centre for African Elections Media Monitoring Index (CAEMMI) recent media research on the state print media showed the Daily Graphic and the Ghanaian Times did less critical political content reporting than higher critical content political reporting.
The study which was conducted from the 1st of October to the 30th of October to ascertain whether the state –owned print media is analyzing electoral stakes critically and informing the electorates on political issues , revealed both the Daily Graphic and the Ghanaian Times did a 96% political news reporting with no critical analysis.
Daily Graphic newspaper did only 9% critical political content –enquiry reporting while the Ghanaian Times newspaper did a 3% critical political content – inquire reporting during the period of analysis.
The findings also revealed , out of a total of 297 political news published by the state – owned print media , Daily Graphic published 153 stories (94%) political party stories that were event based issue reporting while 147stories (98%) of the Ghanaian Times also had no critical inquiry responses of issues reported.
Commenting on the report, the Executive Director of CAEMMI, Dr. Messan Mawugbe said, during pre –election period, the role of the media was supreme in content and form, to enable citizens have access to sufficient information to make valid and enlightened choice.
He advised the media to “articulate the ‘inverted pyramid’ effectively and touch on “interrogative-consequences” by using news reporting as a mechanism to seek information and embark on content – inquiry on behalf of the electorates”.
Dr. Mawugbe said, “during election period, information flow to the electorates is very paramount to enable appreciable choices”. However, the findings reveal our Journalists consistently have failed to “ask” on behalf of the electorate.
He said during election campaign periods, “political parties present to the electorate ‘Clichéd’ and over-rehearsed campaigns; it is therefore the responsibility of the Journalist to ‘cut through the parties hype and spin”.
He added that “it is time the media moved away from ‘news-reporting’ to what CAEMMI refers to as ‘Content-Inquiry Reporting’ and act as political interrogators and inquirers’ than political news reporters.
“Ghanaian Journalist should allow the national aspirations, communal challenges and needs to shape the style of reporting , or what CAEMMI refers to as National Instrumentalization of Political News” to shape the style of political reporting.
He reminded the media of the GJA guideline 7 which stipulates that “Journalists must endeavour to subject manifestoes and programmes to thorough analysis and discussions for the benefit of the electorate” as well as the NMC’s national media policy which says “All media services shall be regarded as a public trust…”
The research results are not meant to critique the state-owned media but to draw the media’s attention to their style of political reporting.