A new study conducted by the Media Foundation for West Africa has revealed that a total of 116 ethical violations were recorded across new websites, Radio and Print media in Ghana.
The study was conducted across 26 Ghanaian media organizations between June 15 and June 30, 2020. A total of 963 media content programmes were monitored on the 26 selected media organizations over two weeks.
The report also revealed that radio stations dominated ethical violations by 81.7%. News websites and newspapers recorded 29.25% and 6.5% ethical violations respectively. According to the report, the highest violated principle is Decency. This is followed closely by Accuracy, Good Taste and Public sensibilities.
According to the MFWA, the objective of the report is to identify and highlight incidents of ethical infractions. It also seeks to draw attention to such breaches as a way of fostering adherence to ethical principles by media organizations.
The main subjects that dominated the content monitored included news and development on the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Democratic Congress NDC press conference, the Outcome of NPP primaries, Alleged deployment of security personnel to border towns, etc.
Among the key issues identified in print media included the use of headlines which does not correspond with news content. Some newspapers were noted to be republishing unsubstantiated allegations which their sources peddled without recourse to establish the veracity.
According to the report, unscreened and unregulated comments that are published below stories remain a major ethical problem among news websites. The report also cited the use of misleading headlines by news websites.
The report highlighted that some presenters and TV hosts were noted to be inciting and encouraging panelists to make unethical and offensive statements.
The report also added that TV hosts often projected their personal opinions when presenting the news as against the material fact of the stories. Also, some hosts of the pro-partisan radio stations were noted to be inciting violence and threatening people who belonged to the opposing party.
The report called for concerted efforts from media associations such as Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) to ensure that their members abide by the ethical principles that are supposed to guide their work.
The MFWA also advocated for the enforcement of strong punitive measures to serve as a deterrent to other media organizations.
The Media Foundation for West Africa further charged the National Media Commission to regulate the content of the media in Ghana and quell the disregard of ethical principles by the media. The MFWA also called on the NMC to continuously monitor and invite media owners, hosts and journalists to dialogue and build consensus on upholding professional standards.