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The Prospects of Regulating Electronic Media Activities in Ghana. A Case Study of the National Media Commission

von Anthony Abaidoo (Autor) Joseph Kojo Loggosu (Autor)

Projektarbeit 2016 108 Seiten

Medien / Kommunikation - Massenmedien allgemein




1.0 Background of the Study
1.1 Statement of Problem
1.2 Objectives of the Study, Research Questions
1.3 Significance of the study
1.4 Scope and Limitation of the Study
1.5 Overview of Research Methodology
1.6 Organization of the Study

2.0 Introduction
2.1 Background of Ghana’s Media
2.1.1 The Press
2.1.2 Broadcasting
2.2 The Media before Deregulation
2.2.1 The Media after Deregulation
2.3 Types of Media in Ghana
2.4 Functions of the Media
2.5 Institutional Framework for Media Regulations in Ghana
2.5.1 National Media Commission (NMC)
2.5.2 National Communications Authority of Ghana (NCA)
2.5.3 The Ministry of Communications
2.5.4 The Information Services Department (ISD)
2.5.5 The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA)
2.5.6 The Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ)
2.5.7 Relationship between NCA and NMC
2.6 The Concept of Regulations
2.6.1 Types and Nature of Regulations
2.6.2 Challenges in the Implementation of Regulations
2.6.3 Analysis of Media Regulations
2.7 Compliance Mechanisms of the Media
2.7.1 Nature of Compliance
2.8 Theoretical Framework
2.8.1 Agenda Settings Theory
2.8.2 Media Systems Dependency
2.8.3 Theories of Relational Dialectics

3.0 Introduction
3.1 Research Design
3.2 Research Population
3.3 Sampling Technique and Sample Size
3.3.1 Sample size
3.4 Data Sources
3.4.1 Data Collection Tools and Procedure
3.4.2 Reliability and Validity
3.5 Data Analysis
3.6 Ethical Considerations

4.0 Introduction
4.1 Demographic characteristics of respondents
4.1.1 Gender of respondents
4.1.2 Age of respondents
4.1.3 Educational level of respondents
4.1.4 Working experience of respondents (NMC and Electronic media practitioners only)
4.1.5 Current position of respondents
4.1.6 Electronic media houses of respondents
4.2.1Avenues through which respondent’s gets information on current issues
4.2.2Awareness of NMC activities (General public)
4.2.3 Are you in favour of content management?
4.2.4 Perceptions on the NMC regulatory activities of electronic media in Ghana
4.2.5 NMC susceptibility to being compromised by electronic media owners in the enforcement of the regulations
4.2.6 Suggested ways the general public can help the NMC deliver on its mandate
4.2.7 Would you like the NMC to regulate all forms of electronic media including online radio, online TV and social media?
4.3.1 The effectiveness of the NMC in the discharge of it mandate in terms electronic media regulation over the years
4.3.2 Regulations governing electronic media practice in Ghana
4.3.3 Sufficiency of regulatory regimes in addressing the regulatory environment
4.3.4 The effectiveness of the NMC regulatory regime in regulating the emerging new media platforms
4.3.5 Gaps in the regulatory regime
4.3.6 Does the NMC require a new law(legal framework) to regulate the electronic media?
4.3.7 Does the NMC seek the collaboration of other state agencies?
4.3.8 Does the NMC prefer a regulated media to a liberal media?
4.3.9 Challenges faced by NMC in the implementation of regulations in the electronic media in Ghana
4.3.10 Measures to enhance collaboration between NMC and Electronic media
4.3.11 Extent of collaboration of NMC with electronic media
4.4.1 Awareness of the existence of NMC regulatory and governance of electronic media operations in Ghana
4.4.2 Compliance of electronic media house with NMC regulations
4.4.3 Regulation governing the operations of the electronic media in Ghana.
4.4.4 Whether in support of regulation of electronic media or not
4.4.5 Challenges inhibiting implementation of NMC regulations
4.4.6 Extent of collaboration of NMC with electronic media
4.4.7 Measures to enhance collaboration between NMC and the electronic media in Ghana
4.5 Discussion of findings
4.5.1 Regulation Governing the Electronic Media in Ghana
4.5.2 Problems and challenges faced by NMC in carrying out their constitutional mandate as a regulatory body for electronic media.
4.5.3 Ways through which NMC can effectively enhance their collaboration with electronic media houses to better enhance standards.
4.5.4 General perception of the Ghanaian general public on the regulations of the electronic media and activities of NMC.

5.1 Introduction
5.2 Summary
5.2.1 Summary of the Study
5.2.2 Study’s Findings
5.3 Conclusion
5.4 Recommendation




Media play a significant role towards the socio-economic and political development of all economies. However, if their operations are not properly and efficiently regulated it can lead to underdevelopment. Hence, this study focused on the prospects of regulating electronic media activities in Ghana by using the National Media Commission (NMC) as a case study. The mixed research method was used as well as primary and secondary data. The primary data was collected through questionnaires and interview guide. Purposive and simple random sampling techniques was used to select 100 respondents for the study. The findings of the study revealed there are various existing regulations governing the electronic media in Ghana. It was also found that there are problems and challenges facing the NMC in the discharge of its duties. This has to do with the electronic media ownership, employees and team compositions and the internal weaknesses electronic media houses in ensuring adhering to the NMC regulations. The study recommends that Ghana Parliament should pass a law to empower the NMC to be more biting.


Tale 3.1 Sample Frame

Table 4.1 Demographic characteristics of respondents

Table 4.2 Working experience

Table 4.3: General Public response on NMC activities

Table 4.4: Fairness of NMC operations

Table 4.5: collaboration between the NMC and electronic media

Table 4.6: Awareness of NMC regulations

Table 4.7: Obeying NMC’s regulations


Figure 2.1: Relationship between MOC, NCA and NMC.

Figure 4.1.1 NMC respondent’s positions

Figure 4.1.2B Electronic media respondents’ positions

Figure 4.2: Electronic Media

Figure 4.3: collaboration between the NMC and electronic media


illustration not visible in this excerpt



1.0 Background of the Study

The role played by the media is very significant for the socio-economic and political development of every nation. Just to mention few; the media provide and facilitate the flow of information, They ensure good governance system through the provision of adequate and accessible information. In addition the media educate the general public through the provision of information, they provide entertainment, perform as watchdog over government agencies, private institutions and other non –governmental organizations. Again, they bring cultures, nations and communities closer to each other through news, coverage; usually they create a platform for debate for social and economic development. The multiple role played by the media house have been summarized in the words of McQuail. According to McQuail (2000, p.66) the media is “a window on events and experience, a mirror of events in society and the world, a filter or gatekeeper, a signpost, guide or interpreter, a forum or platform for the presentation of information and ideas and as an interlocutor or informed partner in conversation”.

Although the media play an important role in every economy, lack of regulation can affect their operations thereby affecting the economy. There have been instances where the media was seen as playing a critical role in bringing about conflict among the people. For example the media were blamed for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and the 2007 post-election conflict in Kenya (Human Right Watch, 1999). The Human Right Watch (1999) reported that, in the Rwanda genocide “one of the most virulent voice (sic) of hate, the newspaper Kangura, began spewing forth attacks on the Rwanda Patriotic Front and on Tutsi immediately after the October 1990 invasion. It was joined soon after by other newspapers and journals that received support from officials and businessmen linked to the regime…the radio was to become even more effective in delivering the message of hate directly and simultaneously to a wide audience”. Similarly, The BBC World Service (2008) concluded on the post-election conflict that took away the lives of many in Kenya in 2007 that “while the mainstream media has been praised for trying to calm the situation, people within and outside the media argue that it has failed to live up to professional and ethical standards and has contributed to the crisis”.

Regulation of the activities of media house could help solve these unethical behaviours of some journalists. In Ghana legislation and Regulation of media house have moved in accordance to the political landscape and the social economic development of the country (Ampaw, 2004, pp 1115). For example regulations that were passed during the Gold Coast era was based on the political climate at that time. Newspaper Registration Ordinance of 1894 (Cap 125) was one of the first laws enacted in Ghana. This was followed by Books and Newspapers Registration Ordinance of 1897 (Cap 124). The main reason for the establishment Cap 125 was to help keep records of titles, names of publishers, editors, printers and proprietors of newspapers whiles Cap 125 was to ensure registration of books (Campbell, 2002).

Moreover, in 1934 the Sedition Bill which stated the number of publication which could be imported into Ghana was introduced. The two colonial ordinances, Cap 124 and Cap 125 were replaced by the Book and Newspaper Registration Act (Act73) in 1963. For the first time in the history of Ghana, Newspaper Licensing Act, 1963 (ACT 189) was also introduced (Amegatcher, 1998).

The 1992 Constitution provided the framework for the development of media. Article 162(2) states inter alia that “there shall be no censorship in Ghana. ” Article 162(3) further states that “there shall be no law requiring any person to obtain a license as a prerequisite to the establishment or operation of a newspaper, journal or other media of mass communication or information.” Article 162(4) also provides that: “Editors and Publishers of Newspapers and other institutions of mass media shall not be subjected to the control or interference by Government nor shall they be penalized or harassed for their editorial opinions and views, or the content of their publications. ” Indeed Article 21(1) is a summation of all that has been provided in the constitutional framework which stipulates that: “All persons shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression which shall include freedom of the Press and other media” (The 1992 Constitution of Ghana).

To tighten the media regulation in Ghana, The National Media Commission (NMC) was created on 7th July, 1993 by an Act of Parliament (Act 449). Per the Act, NMC was admonished to take all appropriate measures to ensure the establishment and maintenance of the highest journalistic standards in the mass media, including the investigation, mediation and settlement of complaints made against or by the press or other mass media. Indeed, the National Media Policy of 2001 which is an off–shoot of the commission is to serve as the benchmark for measuring media performance generally. The policy provides general guidelines for print, electronic, film, wire service, advertising and public relations. It equally provides for Public Service, Commercial and Community Media (National Media Communication, 2015).

With all these legislation and regulation which have been implemented, people are of the view there is high level of non-compliance among the electronic media. As result this study seeks to find out the prospects of regulating this media in Ghana.

1.1 Statement of Problem

Electronic media is categorised under the broadcast media in Ghana. It is made up of radio and television; and their transmission is through the airwaves, satellite or cables or images. Electronic media was first introduced as a monopoly in Ghana in 1935 (NMC, 2016). This was done through the transmission of radio broadcasting by the British colonial government. Television broadcasting was also introduced to Ghana in 1965 by a collaboration between the government of Ghana and Sanyo of Japan (NMC, 2016). Prior to Ghana’s 1992 Constitution, their operations were curtailed by so many issues ranging from licensing and the freedom of speech. This led to a lot of difficulties and struggles within the industry. However, the introduction of The 1992 Constitution entrusted the National Media Commission to regulate the activities of media houses. Chapter 12(Article 167) of the Constitution spells out the functions of the NMC.

The NMC was charged based on journalism standards to perform six basic functions;

- To promote and ensure the freedom and independence of the media for mass communication or information;
- To take all appropriate measures to ensure the establishment and maintenance of the highest journalistic standards in the mass media, including investigation, mediation and settlement of complaints made against or by the press or other mass media;
- To insulate the state-owned media from governmental control;
- To take measures to ensure that persons responsible for state-owned media afford opportunities and facilities for the presentation of divergent views and dissenting opinions;
- To appoint in consultation with the President, the chairmen and other members of the governing bodies of public corporations managing state-owned media;
- To make regulations by constitutional instrument for the registration of newspapers and other publications, except that the regulations shall not provide for the exercise of any direction or control over the professional functions of a person engaged in the production of newspapers or other means of mass communication; and finally to perform such other functions as may be prescribed by law not inconsistent with the constitution (NMC, 2016).

However, the functions outlined by the 1992 Constitution to be performed by NMC does not outline the legal implication and sanctions to perpetrators. Where sanctions are applied it is limited to only publication correction and sometimes apology. A typical example was when Ebenezer Ato Sam(2008) , Editor of the News Punch Newspaper confessed that he made wrong allegation about the late President of Ghana Prof John Evans Atta Mills about his health status. Interestingly NMC did not do anything about it although it was against their regulations. The biggest question people ask is has NMC become a “toothless bulldog”?

Prof Audrey Gadzekpo, a senior lecturer at the School of Communication Studies, University of Ghana in a presentation at the 20th Anniversary of National Media Commission said “the only way the media can be made responsible is when they take self-regulation seriously” (Daily Guide, 2014). In addition, a member of the NMC, Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng admitted that, NMC is unable to discharge its duties well due to inadequate resources. This implies that without proper regulations and adequate resources the media would be irresponsible and this could have a huge effect on the economy. This study therefore seeks to identify the prospects of regulating the electronic media in Ghana.

1.2 Objectives of the Study, Research Questions

The main objective of the study is to find out the prospects of regulating the electronic media in Ghana by using National Media Commission as a case study mainly and the National Communication Authority. To achieve this broad objective, the specific objective below will serve as guide;

1. To identify the various regulation that govern the electronic media in Ghana.
2. To identify the problems and challenges faced by NMC in carrying out their constitutional mandate as a regulatory body for electronic media.
3. To identify ways through which NMC can effectively enhance their collaboration with electronic media houses to better enhance standards.
4. To examine the general perception of the public on the regulations and activities of NMC.

Research Questions

Based on the statement of problem, one critical question needs to be answered; what are the prospects of regulating electronic media in Ghana? To answer this broad question, the specific questions below will serve as a guide:

1. What regulations govern the electronic media in Ghana?
2. What are the problems and challenges faced by NMC in carrying out their constitutional mandate as a regulatory body for the electronic media?
3. What are the ways through which NMC can effectively enhance their collaboration with electronic media houses?
4. What are the general perception of the public on the regulations and activities of NMC?

1.3 Significance of the study

Media houses including print and electronic media play critical role in the development of a nation. They serve as the mouth piece for the populace and also educate them. This implies that any false information from the media to the public can have repercussion on the people. To arrest this situation, in Ghana the National Media Commission has been given the mandate to regulate their activities. However, people of the view that NMC has become a “toothless bulldog”. This study is therefore conducted to correct this erroneous perception.

The study brings to bear the various challenges faced by NMC in regulating the electronic media. This will guide stakeholders and policy makers to come out with the appropriate strategies and solutions.

Moreover, the study will provide recommendations on how NMC can effectively discharge it duties as a regulating body for the electronic media houses in Ghana .

Finally, this study will add to the body of knowledge on the subject matter and also act as reference for future works.

1.4 Scope and Limitation of the Study

Geographically, this study is limited to only electronic media in Accra which is the capital city and the largest city in Ghana. Not all electronic media houses would be involved. Due to time and financial constraints the following electronic media outfits will be used; for Radio, the following Radio stations shall be considered - Joy FM, Asempa FM, Adom FM, Citi FM, Peace FM and Star FM. For TV, the following TV outlets such as Multi TV, GTV, TV3, UTV and GH One would be used. Another major constraint will be the unwillingness of the respondents to avail themselves for the face-to-face interview sessions or lack of promptness of getting answers from respondents.

1.5 Overview of Research Methodology

This research paper focuses on the prospects of regulating the electronic media in Ghana. To achieve this objective, the study will employ the mixed approach as the research design. Quantitative and qualitative research techniques will be used. Again, two main sources of data will be used; primary and secondary. The primary data would be gathered through structured interviews and questionnaire. The secondary data on the other hand will be collected through published journals and articles, relevant books on the subject matter and reports from National Media Commission of Ghana. The population for this study will include the Staff of National Media Commission and major electronic media institutions in Accra. A purposive sampling technique would be used to select ten (10) top managers at the various electronic media houses and National Media Commission. A random sampling method will also be used to 20 junior staff from NMC and electronic media houses. The same approach will be employed to interview 70 respondents from the general public. The collated data will be presented in tables and graphs with the aid of Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20.1 and Microsoft Office Excel.

1.6 Organization of the Study

The entire thesis will be structured into five chapters. The first chapter will focus on the introduction of the study. This will include the study’s background, problem statement, research objectives and questions, overview of methodology, significance of the study, scope and limitation and the organization of the study.

The second chapter will capture the literature review. Literatures on the electronic media will be reviewed. The history of these media houses as well as National Media Commission will be presented. Again, the prospects and challenges of these media houses will be discussed thoroughly. The laws and regulation governing the media houses will be reviewed. In addition an empirical review will be conducted and the conceptual framework of the study will also be presented.

In the third chapter, a step by step methodology will be presented. Here, the researcher will outline how he is going to achieve the main and specific objectives of the study. The research design, population, sample and sampling technique, source of data and the instrument to be used will all be captured in this chapter.

The data collected from the field will be carefully screened and coded. The coded data will then be analysed and presented in Chapter four. The presentation of data will cover the demography of the respondents and the objectives of the study.

Lastly, chapter five will present the summary of all the research findings and the conclusion and recommendations for this study.



2.0 Introduction

Throughout Africa and the world, the media has played a useful role towards the socio-economic development of countries. Politically, they have ensured the practice of good democracy and safeguard the abuse of it. This chapter presents a review of literature on the subject matter. Specifically it focuses on the definition of key terms and the major operation and regulations of the media in Ghana.

2.1 Background of Ghana’s Media

Ghana’s media has been in existence since the nineteenth century and they have been noted for playing a key role in the socio-economic and political development of Ghana (Alhassan, 2005).

2.1.1 The Press

Commercial Intelligence and The Gold Coast Gazette were the first newspapers to be published in Ghana. The publications of these newspapers was championed by the then British Gold Coast governor – Sir Charles McCarthy from 1822 – 25 (Alhassan, 2005). The first publication was on 2nd April, 1822. The two key items that were featured in the publication were the threat of the Ashanti Empire and the abolition of the slave trade. However, the newspaper also provided information to the European merchants and civil servants. In addition, with the growing level of literacy during the era, the paper began to cover education articles and other socio-economic activities (Alhassan, 2005).

The Gold Coast Gazette collapsed in 1824 and this led to the introduction of the first private newspaper of Gold Coast known as Accra Herald; later known as West African Herald. Charles Bannerman who was a prominent lawyer in the Gold Coast era was the owner and editor of the West African Herald. Interestingly, this paper was copied and written in long hand until a period where they started printing. The actual content of the newspaper was summarized by Colonel H. Bird, the Acting Governor of the Gold Coast. He started that “…extracts the West African Herald, a paper which was more generally civils at than acquiesces in the proceedings of the Government”. The first newspaper which was owned and edited by a Ghanaian was the Gold Coast Times. The times was owned by James Hutton Brew and the first publication was in March, 1874. It focused more on local issues; concentrated on the need of infrastructural development and the continuous threat of the Ashantis. Unfortunately, in 1885 the Gold Coast Times folded up but in the same year the Western Echo paper was launched. Unlike the Gold Coast Times, the Western Echo paper was against colonial rule (Ampaw, 2004).

Currently, there are over 300 registered print publications in Ghana.

2.1.2 Broadcasting

Radio broadcasting came into the Gold Coat in 1935. This was done after a wired radio distribution was launched in Accra in the same year. This initiative was taken by the then governor of the Gold Coast Sir Arnold Hodson (Alhassan, 2005). This medium was introduced to mark the Silver Jubilee of King George V who was the head of the British Empire (Alhassan, 2005). The radio station was known as Radio ZOY and it was used to transmit BBC programmes to about 300 colonial residents and native who were elites. The transmission was later extended to Kumasi, Cape Coast, Koforidua and Sekondi. Within the year of establishment, the estimated subscribers grew to about 400 and by 1945, it had increased to 4,000. As indicated, Radio ZOY was an extension of the British Empire Services. One of the aim was to establish a strong link amongst the British colonies (Ansah, 1985). The purpose of radio in Gold Coast was for education and politics.

As far as broadcasting was concerned, in 1954, the Gold Coast Broadcasting System was established, and it later became the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) after independence in 1957. By the mid-twentieth century there were estimated to be over a million radio sets in sub-Saharan Africa and at the end of the twentieth century it was estimated this figure would reach 100 million radio sets. (Fardon and Furniss, 2000). According to UNESCO, by 1995 there were approximately 115 million receivers across sub-Saharan Africa; 18 per cent of the region’s population owned a radio (Jensen, 1999).

Television broadcasting was established in Ghana in 1965 by the government in collaboration with Sanyo of Japan. Sanyo wished to promote television in Ghana to support its own television assembly plant in Tema. From the introduction of radio in the Gold Coast in 1935 and television in 1965, till the airwaves was liberalized in 1996, radio and television were controlled by the colonial and post-colonial State and this greatly shaped media practice. Whereas the various subsequent regimes – colonial, independent, military, and civilian, differed much in their use of the media, the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) always served a strong political and educational purpose. Throughout the history of GBC, development of the broadcast infrastructure and programming policies were closely tied to state ideology, be it colonial, anti-colonial, Pan Africanist, revolutionary or other.

2.2 The Media before Deregulation

The history of Ghana’s media is inextricable linked to the political history of Ghana. Before independence, the media was used as a political tool rather than a medium of information to educate the general public on socio-economic and developmental activities (Ansu & Karikari, 1998; Anokwa, 1999).

According to Ansah (1991), newspapers served as a tool that was used to organize and motivate the people of Ghana to fight to for independence. The broadcast media has a history of state monopoly in Ghana. Until deregulation some few decades ago, the state-owned Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) was the sole operator of radio and television in the country. Radio was introduced by colonial authorities in 1935 and targeted towards expatriates and a handful of educated Ghanaians, but its reach was rapidly extended throughout the country after independence.

The Ghanaian media has vacillated between intrepidity and cowardice along a continuum of revolutionary, confrontational, legitimacy, and supportive roles depending on the prevailing political atmosphere. Their roles have mainly been determined by the unstable, complex, social and political environments in which they function. They have tried to play the watchdog role during most civilian administrations (Blay-Amihere & Alabi, 1996).

2.2.1 The Media after Deregulation

The spirit of the Fourth Republican Constitution, coupled with civil society/public agitation made continued state monopoly over the airwaves untenable in Ghana. The School of Communication Studies, University of Ghana, for example, organized a National Workshop on the “privatization of radio and television” to stimulate public discussion on the issue (Karikari, 1994). In addition to such awareness creating initiatives, the call for deregulation was dramatically expressed when FM station called Radio Eye began broadcasting to parts of Accra without recourse to the licensing authorities. Radio Eye was raided and shutdown after a few weeks on air, but the station’s defiant action forced the government to address the central question of broadcast deregulation. Since the advent of the deregulation of broadcasting in Ghana in 1996, a process put in motion earlier by the promulgation of the 1992 Constitution, radio has recorded the most growth. However, this boom has concentrated largely on commercial radio, with the approval of over 224 private commercial licences.

The commercial radio and television stations and the print are concentrated in the urban centres of Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi, thus neglecting the vast rural population.

2.3 Types of Media in Ghana

According the Ghana National Media Policy (2000), the various types of media in Ghana includes: print, broadcasting, film and other mass communication services such as wire services, advertising and public relations.

The print media as defined in the National Media Policy comprises of magazines and newspapers that are printed for mass readership. The policies governing magazines and newspapers also applies to magazines and newspapers that are publicized electronically.

Radio and Television are the main forms of media that constitutes broadcasting media. They transmit via the airwaves, satellite or cable or images. This also known as the electronic media.

Film refers to the recording of moving images and sound on cellulose, disc, video tape or other recoding medium for public view.

Wire Services which is also known as news agencies, are central organizations which gather and disseminate news covering a large geographical area, both national and foreign.

Advertising also refers to the presentation and promotion of ideas, goods and services paid for by an identified sponsor.

Public Relations is the distinctive management art and social sciences functions based on an understanding of human behaviour that identifies issues of critical relevance, analyses future trends and predicts their consequences, and establishes and maintains mutual beneficial relationships between an organization or group and its publics based on truths, full information and responsible performance.

2.4 Functions of the Media

McQuail (2000) summarizes the functions of the media as “a window on events and experience, a mirror of events in society and the world, a filter or gatekeeper, a signpost, guide or interpreter, a forum or platform for the presentation of information and ideas and as an interlocutor or informed partner in conversation”.

According the MacQuail (2000) the key functions of the media includes:

- Use their platforms to promote good governance and accountability by bridging the information dissemination gap, as information is an indispensable and essential ingredient of democracy, economic growth and consumer choice.
- By enabling the free flow of information, the media stands as an important and key stakeholder of the political process in democracies.
- Use their platforms and programmes to educate through news and information dissemination.
- Provide the general public with entertainment programmes.
- Bridging of the gaps in societies, social institutions and cultures etc through news coverage and information dissemination.
- Act as watchdogs over governments’ officials, ministries agencies and institutions as well as over society and its institutions.
- Leads the setting of the agenda for debates and discussion on issues of importance and of national interest.

Newspapers and broadcast media have become a very important source of political education, conscientization, mobilization, and advocacy. They educate citizens on democratic principles, their constitutional rights, and provide them with access to different views and air their own views. Sandbrook (1996) captures this when he states that: the privately-owned media play important roles in democratic life. They inform citizens on matters of public policy by presenting and debating alternatives. Where parties remain weak to fulfil this policy role, newspapers, radio and television may fill the gap in forging a more informed electorate. The media may also help empower their readers and listeners by making them aware of their civil and political rights, and why and how these rights should be exercised.

2.5 Institutional Framework for Media Regulations in Ghana

There are two institutions that principally have oversight responsibilities over radio and television broadcasting in Ghana. These are the NCA and the NMC. Other associations like Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) aim to achieve higher professional standards, to promote and defend press freedom and to create solidarity among Ghanaian journalists and with other journalists and to formally train prospective Ghanaian journalists. The Ministry of Communications (MOC) and Ministry of Information (MOI) as arms of the government play the supervisory role on the regulator’s work.

2.5.1 National Media Commission (NMC)

The National Media Commission (NMC) was established by an act of parliament by the 1992 Constitution of Ghana. They consist of fifteen members :

The NMC which is made of fifteen members institutions has mandate based on journalism standards to perform six basic functions;

- To uphold and guarantee the freedom and independence of the media for mass communication or information;
- To put in place appropriate measures for the establishment and maintenance of the highest journalistic standards in the mass media, including investigation, mediation and settlement of complaints made against or by the press or other mass media;
- To shield the state-owned media from governmental influence and control;
- To put in place measures to ensure that stakeholders for state-owned media afford opportunities and facilities for the presentation of divergent views and dissenting opinions;
- In consultation with the President, appoint the chairmen and other members of the board of directors of public corporations in charge of state-owned media;
- To facilitate drafting of regulations by constitutional instrument for the registration of newspapers and other publications, except that the regulations shall not provide for the exercise of any direction or control over the professional functions of a person engaged in the production of newspapers or other means of mass communication;
- And finally to perform such other functions as may be deemed necessary or prescribed by law not inconsistent with the constitution (NMC, 2016).

2.5.2 National Communications Authority of Ghana (NCA)

The other regulatory body for communications in Ghana is the NCA. The effort of the NCA to regulate the media industry corresponds to a global push for separate national regulatory bodies different from the regular ministries or departments of the state. In 1990, there were only 12 of such bodies in the world and by 1996 NCA became one of 53 in the world (Abbey-Mensah, 2001). The figure rose to 101 by 2000 (NCA, 2010).The NCA is responsible for the allocation of frequency spectrum for broadcasting. Ghana’s NCA has the regulatory responsibility of ensuring a level playing field in the industry and the attainment of public policy goals in communications. Specifically, its functions include the regulation of communications by wire, cable, radio, television, satellite, and other related technologies in Ghana (NCA, 2016). According to Samarajiva (2001), national regulatory agencies such as NCA emerged as part of the global demand for the creation of independent, non-arbitrary and consistent decision-making agencies to guarantee a stable environment for long-term investment in the telecom sector.

The NCA act defines the responsibilities of this regulatory body as:

i. Setting technical standards
ii. Licensing communication service providers
iii. Providing guidelines on fees and charges (tariffs) chargeable for services
iv. Monitoring the quality levels of service providers and initiating corrective action where necessary if they fall below agreed standards
v. Setting terms and guidelines for interconnections of the different telecommunication networks
vi. Reviewing and considering complaints from telecommunication users and taking corrective actions
vii. Controlling the allocation and use of the radio frequency spectrum
viii. Resolving disputes between telecommunication service providers and customers
ix. Controlling and administering the national numbering plan
x. Controlling and regulating the importation and use of types of communication equipment and
xi. Playing an advisory role to the minister of communications on policy formulation and development strategies of the communications industry.

Until the established of the NCA, the Frequency Registration and Control Board (FRCB) administered the electro-magnetic spectrum. Before the creation of the NCA, Ghana Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (P&T) controlled matters related to telecommunication services. The NCA act abolished the FRCB and put the new body in charge of regulating the industry. Administratively, the NCA has four directorates which are Frequency Management, Regulation and Licensing, Legal, and Finance and Administration with a director-general as the overseer. In the absence of a board of directors, the director- general reports to the minister of communications (NCA, 2016).

2.5.3 The Ministry of Communications

According to the National Telecommunications Policy (2005), government of the Republic of Ghana shall play a vital role in actively promoting the effective development of the telecommunications sector, even as the industry moves closer to a fully private, competitive model. In the elaboration and implementation of telecommunications policy in Ghana, the roles of the Ministry of Communications (MOC) in the area of the media is the Ministry’s mandate to participate in a consultative capacity in all NCA public regulatory proceedings in an open and transparent manner.

2.5.4 The Information Services Department (ISD)

With a vision to the attainment of a free, united, informed and prosperous society with good governance through development communication, the Ministry of Information has existed under different names since independence in 1957. It has metamorphosed from being called Ministry of Information and Culture, Ministry of Information and Tourism, Public Relations Secretariat, Ministry of Communications, Ministry of Media Relations, Ministry of Information and National Orientation (MINO) and currently Ministry of Information (MOI). The Ministry of Information exists to facilitate a two-way free flow of timely and reliable information and feedback between the Government and the public to assist in the development and, co-ordination of policy; to monitor and evaluate the implementation of programmes and activities by the Sectors Agencies.

The Ministry of Information has the following objectives:

1. To reinforce and build institutional capacity for effective policy formulation and implementation/execution.
2. To ensure free flow of information in the public domain in pursuance of the open Government policy.
3. To effectively and efficiently monitor, review and evaluate public responses and opinion on to Government policies, programmes and activities and provide timely feedback to Government.
4. To project the image of the country through collaborative efforts with other agencies to attract foreign investment in consonance with Government policy.
5. To co-ordinate activities of the office of the President towards ensuring uniformity and focus in executing policies, programmes and activities.

The Agencies of the Sector are;

- General Administration
- Information Services Department (ISD)
- Ghana News Agency (GNA)
- Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC)
- National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI)

Though the Ministry of Information has no control over the media, it has had a cordial relationship with the media houses over the years. In its period of existence, the ministry has appealed to the conscience of media houses on the need to develop the country through the media. The various ministers of information at various times have visited some selected media houses to familiarise themselves with the operations of these organisations. A case in point is when one of the ministers of information, Mrs. Oboshie Sai Cofie on the 2nd of July, 2007, unceremoniously visited some media houses in Accra and Tema. During the visit, she stated that she was looking forward to building a closer relationship between the ministry and private radio stations, a private radio station in Accra. The ministry had instituted the “Meet the Press series”, a program that brought the ministers of the various ministries and other government agencies closer to the media. At these series, the people in the helm of affairs have opened themselves up to the media on pertinent issues regarding the nation’s development. At different times as well the ministry has organised seminars for media organisations.

2.5.5 The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA)

The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) was founded in 1949, and has become the umbrella organization representing Ghanaian journalists. It is registered as a professional association and listed as one of several bodies on the board of the National Media Commission. In its activities GJA tends to achieve higher professional standards, to promote and defend press freedom and to create solidarity among Ghanaian journalists and with other journalists both in Ghana and abroad.

To realize these objectives the GJA organizes educational programmes, workshops, seminars and lectures on issues relevant to media development and growth. With assistance from FES, GJA published several books concerning media issues.

2.5.6 The Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ)

The Ghana Institute of Journalism, formerly the Ghana School of Journalism was officially opened on Monday, 16th October, 1959, by the then Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Mr. Kofi Baako. The school was established by the Nkrumah’s government to provide training in journalism towards the development of a patriotic cadre of journalists to play an active role in the emancipation of the African continent. In 1974 the National Redemption Council (NRC) passed its first legislative instrument NRCD 275 formally establishing the Ghana Institute of Journalism.

The decree set out to do the following:

a. To train and groom young men and women in the skills and techniques of journalism, mass communication, advertising and public relations etc.
b. To organize classes, lecture sessions, workshops/seminars, demonstrations, experiments, researches and practical training in all aspects of journalism and mass communication.

2.5.7 Relationship between NCA and NMC

The NMC has no direct relationship with the National Communications Authority (NCA) even though the NCA is currently responsible for broadcasting frequency spectrum management and assignment. There is also a functional overlap between the NMC and the NCA that creates confusion, and it has been suggested in several quarters that the NCA has no guarantee of independence since it is not a constitutional body (Amienyi, 2004). It appears the problem arose from a perception that the NCA was created to usurp some of the powers of the NMC and maintain government control over some aspects of mass media operations. It is acknowledged by both NMC and NCA that the rivalry in their relationship is not in the public interest. Both institutions acknowledge their work is interrelated and note the need for co-ordination. The presence of media sector representatives ensures a degree of co- regulation with the media sectors, for example the NMC makes use of the Ghana Journalists Association Code of Ethics. On the other hand such representation may create conflict of interest in judging cases involving competitors (Amienyi, 2004).

Figure 2.1. Below is a diagrammatic presentation of the relationship between the Ministry of Communication, NCA and the National Media Commission.

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Figure 2.0 above illustrates the relationship between the NCA and NMC in the regulatory environment of the media. It is shown in the diagram that both the NCA and NMC in terms of their responsibilities have nothing in common. However, the Ministry of Communications found outside the regulatory environment has an influence on the independent operations of the NCA and NMC.

2.6 The Concept of Regulations

Across the world, media organizations are regulated because of universal perceptions that media content and media operations can significantly impact on economies, social policies, political debate and, above all, the lives of people (Samarajiva, 2001; Fardon & Furniss, 2000).

In the broadest sense, regulation consists of any influences over media operations and media content influences that are both external to and internal to media sectors. The broad definition of regulation as influences conceptualizes regulations as coming not only from regulatory bodies that have a legal basis for their authority over media operations, but also from sometimes less visible entities such as the interplay between media providers, financers and users. In essence, the broad definition of regulation positions media content as being shaped by more than just government rules (Alhassan, 2005).

Therefore, regulation of the media can take on many forms and with varying levels of influence, ranging from hopeful suggestions by civil society groups, to binding recommendations from industry associations, to mandates from international organizations, to direct control by national governments as well as the many graduations of influence within this range. Most regulatory initiatives are aimed either at media content or media operations. Regulations aimed at media operations normally deal with technical parameters. For example, the International Telecommunication Convention (ITU) allocates radio band frequencies across the world. Regulations aimed at media content normally deal either with protecting the public from perceived harm, or with elevating the population’s knowledge or appreciation for culture (Alhassan, 2005).

The OECD (1995) defines regulation as legal instruments by which governing institutions at all levels of government impose obligations or constraints on private sector behaviour. It is also a rule, order or standard adopted by any state agency to implement, interpret or make specific the law enforced or administered by it or to govern its procedure.

2.6.1 Types and Nature of Regulations

The guidelines for the operation of the media are specific depending on whether the affected media house falls under either electronic (radio and television) or print media. Even under the electronic media operations there are separate ones for radio and television. However there may be similarities in some guidelines governing both.

The National Media Commission’s Print Media Guidelines (2003) outlines the regulations governing the operations of the print media and touches on areas like accuracy and fairness of reportage, sources, right of reply, news gathering, harassment, privacy, protection of the vulnerable, reporting crime, violence, disasters, discrimination, photographs, language, financial journalism, copyright or plagiarism, conflict of interest and miscellaneous.

The electronic media (radio) regulations addresses issues of national identity and programming, accuracy, objectivity and fairness, good taste and decency, language in broadcasts, authenticity, morality and social values, portrayal of sex, crime, law and order broadcasts and the law, portrayal of violence, cruelty and horror, children’s quiz, schools, news, current affairs, political, religious programs, music, drama and film, advertisements, program sponsorship, station identification, monitoring of programs and program relays covered (NMC Broadcast standards, 2000).

2.6.2 Challenges in the Implementation of Regulations

Professional journalism in Africa is influenced by a journalistic culture and tradition, which has been partly shaped by pre- and post-independence political developments. The period preceding the current press scene in Africa was marked by press control mechanisms that engendered self-censorship especially among state-owned journalists (Asante 1996).

2.6.3 Analysis of Media Regulations

Media regulations in Ghana exist in explicit language and they are documented for all the various forms of media. They are being followed to some extent by the industry players. The NMC and the NCA serve as the major implementers. It is important to note that though these regulations exist, regulators have been slow in enforcing them. This is the reason for which both the print and electronic enjoy a field day of breaking them. Feigning ignorance on the part of the media and citing lack of logistics by the implementers are believed to be the cause of insanity on the media landscape. At a workshop on "Radio Stations Broadcasting Beyond their Boundaries" organised by the Western Salem Communication, operators of Kyzz FM, and the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund in Takoradi, a project consultant, Nii Tackie Otoo, called on Ghana's NCA to enforce its regulations that prevent radio stations broadcasting beyond their boundaries. He said some radio stations were broadcasting beyond their boundaries because certain aspects of the NCA regulations, LI 1719 of 2003, were not proactive.

2.7 Compliance Mechanisms of the Media

Ghana’s 1992 Constitution made provisions to guarantee freedom of the press. In response to changes in the political landscape, Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) ratified its code of ethics in 1994. Remarkably, the public is beginning to assert their rights to be properly informed by questioning journalistic irresponsibility, at times with recourse to the courts. It is a new form of horizontal interaction between the press and its audience and also a challenge to GJA and the media instructors to equip journalists with specialized knowledge and skills that respond well to their audience needs.

Theoretically when journalists violate the code of ethics, it is expected that peer pressure would be exerted through censure from the GJA. Members of the public who also feel aggrieved by publications can approach the Complaints Settlement Committee of the National Media Commission (NMC) for mediation in seeking redress to their concerns. However, as noted earlier, some members of the public have expressed concern about the growing incidence of professional irresponsibility. The seeming incapacity of the GJA and NMC to satisfactorily deal with the situation has given grounds for taking a critical look at the functionality of the institutionalized models of press accountability mechanisms.

2.7.1 Nature of Compliance

Media self- regulatory bodies are institutions that monitor compliance with ethical rules and ethical practice in the media, the professional tribunals, press councils, journalists’ orders, or publishers, mediators and ombudsman (Abbey-Mensah, 2001). These constitute an internal police force for the journalistic profession, but have no coercive power. The underlying idea is that it is in the interests of the communicators to put their own house in order without the State or courts becoming involved. In the same spirit, association boards seek to reach an agreement between the complainants and the media, in order to avoid legal action (Abbey-Mensah, 2001).

2.8 Theoretical Framework

Following Miller (2001) the theoretical framework for this study was based on the Agenda Setting Theory, Media System Dependency and the Theories of Relational Dialectics.

2.8.1 Agenda Settings Theory

Walter Lippmann argued that the mass media create images events in our minds and that policy makers should be cognizant of those “pictures in people’s head” (Lippmann, 1992). The broad-scope definition of agenda setting involves the consideration of three related agendas: the media agenda, the public agenda, and the policy agenda. The media agenda is the set of topics addressed by media sources (e.g. newspapers, television, and radio).

The public agenda is the set of topics that members of the public believe is important. Finally, the policy agenda represents issues that decision makers (e.g. legislators and those who influence the legislative process) believe are particularly salient. Each agenda can be seen as a dependent variable in a causal equation. As laid out by Mc-Combs and Shaw, the agenda-setting hypothesis is a relatively straightforward one. Specifically, “agenda-setting is the process whereby the news media lead the public in assigning relative importance to various public issues,” The media agenda influences the public agenda by giving it more prominent space and time. This study will be underpinned by the agenda-setting theory, but then with emphasis on the policy agenda component, where legislators and those who influence the legislative process set the agenda for policy decisions.

2.8.2 Media Systems Dependency

Media System Dependency first proposed by Ball-Rokeach and De-Fleur (1976), has at its heart a tripartite system in which media, audience, and society are seen to have dependency relationships with each other. Each of these system components (i.e. media, audience, and society) is seen depending on the other components in the system by drawing on the resources in order to satisfy goals. The theory also considers some of the consequences of dependency relationships. For example, a dependency relationship might lead individuals to frame particular issues as important ones to consider. Theoretical developments in the Media System Dependency have also revolved around the relationship between micro-level issues (e.g. individual use of themedia) and macro-level issues (e.g. relationships among media organizations and other societal institutions). In this discourse, the latter category will be in issue, as media policy analysis depends upon the tripartite role in policy formulation, evaluation and implementation.

2.8.3 Theories of Relational Dialectics

A dialectical approach to relationships proposes that relationships are comprised of inherent contradictions. These contradictions are conceptualized not as dualism but as dialectics in which the tension inherent in the contradiction is not something to be resolved through choice but something that defines the nature of the relationship and sustains the life of the relationship. In the domain of philosophical roots, several philosophers and social theorists have been central in the development of dialectical theory and in its application to relational and communication processes. George Hegel and Karl Marx were instrumental in developing an understanding of the social world as controlled by fundamental distinctions in power. Hegel and Marx outlined a philosophical approach that has come to be known as material dialectics. In this dialectical approach, the thesis is seen as the current structure. The antithesis is the overthrown or reversal of this structure. Synthesis is the resolution of structural inequalities. This theoretical background will constitute the basis upon which this study will be conducted, since policy formulation and enactment of legislation follow the same mode of thesis, antithesis and synthesis in absolute terms (Miller, 2001).



3.0 Introduction

This section of the research focused on how the researcher was able answer the research questions and also how the research objectives were achieved. All the necessary procedure and steps have been discussed in this chapter. Specifically, the research design, population of the study, sample design and sample size, the instrument which was used in data collection and the data analysis techniques are well presented in this chapter.

3.1 Research Design

According to Yin (2003) research design or the framework of a research is highly dependent on the kind of research questions posed. Following Yin (2003) claim and the research question for this study, the mixed approach was adopted as the research design for this study. The mixed method approach of research design involves the collection of both quantitative and qualitative data. It also follows a sequential format and good for both close and open ended questions. Creswell (2003) outlined that the mixed approach begins with a broad survey and a generalization is made for the entire population. He added that open-ended interviews are used to collect detailed data from respondents. In addition, Saunders et al (2007) opined that this approach combines both numeric and non-numeric features for proper analysis.

The discussion above gave the justification for using the mixed approach as the main design for this study. Again, the research questions was very open and broad hence an open-ended questionnaire format was good for answering certain pertinent questions.

3.2 Research Population

Generally population refers to all element, individuals or groups with similar characteristics who serve as respondents for a particular study (Sekeran, 2003). Similarly, Saunders, Philip and Adrian (2007) defines population as a well- defined collection of individuals with similar characteristics. The participants who are involved in a research are usually referred to as respondents. This implies that the respondents form the population for the study. When the wrong population is chosen it lead to misleading findings and conclusion of the study. The population for the study consisted of staff of National Media Commission of Ghana and staff of major electronic media institutions in Accra which is the largest and capital city of Ghana and the general public.

3.3 Sampling Technique and Sample Size

Sampling techniques enables researchers to get a range of methods to be used in selecting respondents from sub group rather than the entire population Saunders et al (2007). Both probability and non-probability sampling techniques were used. The former according to Saunders et al (2007) is when each member within the population has equal chance of being selected and the latter is when the probability of each member being selected is no known and this is based on subjective judgement Saunders et al (2007). They argued that both sampling method could be used to make generalization for the entire population but foo statistical reference, non-probability technique can’t be used.

Saunders et al (2007) outlined four steps that need to be followed when using probability sampling technique:

1. A suitable sample frame need to be identified and it should be based on the research questions or objective.
2. Choose a suitable sample size.
3. Select the appropriate sampling technique.
4. Verify that the sample is the true representative of the population.

Following Saunders et al (2007) third point, the simple random technique was used to select respondents from the general public and junior staff of the selected media house. Simple random technique which is sometimes referred to as random sampling is when the researcher decides to select a sample at random from a given sample frame. This method according to Doku (2015) is suitable when the researcher is of the view that each respondent has access to the relevant information needed for the study. This justifies the reason for selecting the general public and junior staff through random sampling.

For non-probability technique, Saunders et al (2007) proposed that the suitable technique have to be chosen. Out of the various types on non-probability techniques, purposive sampling technique was chosen select the electronic media. The selected electronic media which included Joy FM, Asempa FM, Adom FM, Citi FM, Peace FM and Star FM, Multi TV, GTV, TV3, UTV and GH One. The purposive sampling technique was used to select senior managers of the National Media Commission and the selected electronic media. The purposive sampling or judgmental sampling is when a researcher decides to use his own judgment to select respondents for the study. Saunders et al (2007) asserted that this method is appropriate if the researcher knows the sample that will enable him/her achieve his objectives or answer his/her research questions. Similarly, Doku (2015) opined that this techniques enables the researcher to access information that has direct bearing on the research objectives. These two claims by Saunders et al (2007) and Doku (2015) justifies why the purposive sampling was used to select the electronic media and senior managers.

3.3.1 Sample size

Henry (1990) advised that where the population for a study is less than 50 there is no need for sample size. This means if the population exceeds 50 the researcher has to select sample for the study. In selecting sample size Saunders et al (2007) proposed that there is a need for sample size if it is highly impracticable for the researcher to interview the entire population and if the researcher is constrained by budget and time. Henry (1990) argued sampling is better than census. The total sample size for this study 100. The sample size was selected after a thorough review of the discussions above.

One key requirement that was proposed by Saunders et al (2007) for selecting the appropriate sampling technique was a suitable sample frame. Sample Frame, is a complete list of all the possible cases from which the sample was drawn (Saunders et al, 2007). The sample frame for the study is presented in the Table 3.1 below;

Tale 3.1 Sample Frame

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Source: Author Own Construct (2016)



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Titel: The Prospects of Regulating Electronic Media Activities in Ghana. A Case Study of the National Media Commission