14 January 2013

Ghana: MFWA's Monitoring Report for Election Week

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Introduction

This report covers the findings of electoral campaign language monitoring on radio by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) during the election week. During the monitoring period (December 2 - 8, 2012), a total of 16 indecent expressions were recorded. The findings show that all the 16 indecent expressions were made before (December 2 - 5, 2012) the Election Day (December 7, 2012). The findings also show that Asempa FM was the only radio station that rebroadcast indecent expressions during the election week.

General Findings on Expressions Used

Altogether, 89 reports were received on the programmes monitored on 29 out of the 31 radio stations selected for the project. A total of 16 indecent expressions were recorded. Five (5) of them were offensive/insulting comments and another five were provocative remarks. Unsubstantiated allegations levelled against political opponents were four (4) in all. The monitoring also captured a comment promoting divisiveness and the rebroadcast of a remark calling for confrontation and violence.

Expressions Used and Political Party Affiliation

With the exception of the rebroadcast of two (2) indecent expressions by Asempa FM, the remaining 14 indecorous expressions were all made by affiliates of the two (2) main political parties in the country, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC). Affiliates of the two parties made seven (7) indecent remarks each. A breakdown of the indecent expressions made is presented in Table 1 below.

Table 1: Expressions Used by Political Party Affiliation

Political Party Affiliation Types of Indecent Expression Used

Insulting/ Offensive Comments Unsubstantiated Allegations Provocative Remark Divisive Comments Total

NPP

3 3 1 0 7

NDC

1 1 4 1 7

Total 4 4 5 1 14

Note: The two (2) indecent expressions not accounted for in Table 1 above were rebroadcasts of indecent expressions by Asempa FM.

Expressions Used and Gender

Neither of the 16 indecent expressions recorded was gender-specific indecent expression; nor was any of them made by a female.

Perpetrators of Indecent Expressions

For the week under review, the two individuals who were found to have made more than one indecent expression were:

Alhaji Sani, former Ashanti Regional First Vice Chairman of the NDC

Mr Yaw Antwi, an NDC activist

Below are the names of all the individuals who used indecent expressions, the radio stations and the dates on which the expressions were made:

Offensive/ insulting remarks

Madam Afia Akoto of the NPP - during Space FM's Morning Flight programme of December 4, 2012

Alhaji Saani, former Ashanti Regional First Vice Chairman of the NDC - during Fox FM's Morning Show programme of December 5, 2012

Mr Christian Tettey Kofi, the NPP Parliamentary Candidate for Yilo Krobo - during Rites FM's Evening Platform programme of December 5, 2012

Quarshie, an NPP supporter who called during Rites FM's Evening Platform programme of December 5, 2012

Asempa FM replayed an offensive remark during the station's Ekosii Sen programme of December 5, 2012

Provocative remarks

Mr Chris Dugan of the NDC - during Space FM's Morning Flight programme of December 4, 2012

Mr Rahaman Samari of the NPP - during Diamond FM's Power Drive Talk-Back segment of December 4, 2012

Mr Brogya Gyamfi of the NDC - during Angel FM's Platform programme of December 4, 2012

Mr Yaw Antwi of the NDC - made two (2) during Radio Gold's Asem Yi Di Ka programme of December 5, 2012

Unsubstantiated allegations

Kojo, an NDC supporter from Takoradi - during the Skyy Power FM's News Review programme of December 2, 2012

Mr Kwadwo Dankwa of the NPP - during Classic FM's Kokrokoo programme of December 3, 2012

Mr Sam Pyne, Ashanti Regional Secretary of the NPP - during an interview on Angel FM's Platform programme of December 4, 2012

Mr Eric Bawah of the NPP - during Classic FM's Kokrokoo programme of December 4, 2012

Comment promoting Divisiveness

Alhaji Saani, former Ashanti Regional First Vice Chairman of the NDC - during Fox FM's Morning Show programme of December 5, 2012

Remark calling for confrontation and violence

Asempa FM replayed a remark calling for confrontation and violence during the station's Ekosii Sen programme of December 4, 2012

Note: As a policy, the MFWA has decided not to publish the indecent expressions people make since it will amount to rebroadcasting of those remarks. The MFWA has been urging radio stations to desist from the replay of indecent expressions on their networks since they tend to amplify such expressions and their potentially negative ramifications. Thus, the rebroadcasting of the specific indecent expressions recorded in this monitoring exercise will amount to the same inappropriate action. The specific expressions used by persons cited in our reports are, however, available at the MFWA.

Expressions Used and Radio Stations

The 16 indecent expressions were recorded on nine (9) radio stations. Details of the number of indecorous expressions recorded on each of the nine radio stations and the specific categories of expressions recorded are presented in Table 2 below.

Table 2: Expressions Used by Radio Stations

Radio Stations Types of Expressions Recorded

Unsubst. Allegations Insulting/ Offensive Comments Provocative Remark Divisive Comments Remarks calling for confrontation/ violence Total

Asempa FM 0 1 0 0 1 2

Angel FM 1 0 1 0 0 2

Classic FM 2 0 0 0 0 2

Fox FM 0 1 0 1 0 2

Radio Gold 0 0 2 0 0 2

Rites FM 0 2 0 0 0 2

Space FM 0 1 1 0 0 2

Diamond FM 0 0 1 0 0 1

Skyy Power FM 1 0 0 0 0 1

Total 4 5 5 1 1 16

Conclusion

Considering the fact that the election week was the last week for electoral campaigning, and therefore, marked the peak of the campaigns, it can be said that the number of indecent expressions recorded was relatively low. It is also worth noting that no indecent expression was recorded the day before the elections when campaign activities were brought to an end, the day of the elections and the day after the elections (6th, 7th and 8th December, 2012).

The MFWA is, therefore, urging political activists and the general public to continue the decorous and civil discussions that were experienced during the period so as to maintain peace and order in the country while promoting national cohesion. The MFWA also commends radio stations and the media as a whole on the professional way in which most of them covered and reported the 2012 elections.

Background information

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) embarked on the monitoring of electoral campaign language-use on radio in January 2012 under its project, "Promoting Issues-based and Decent Language Campaigning for a Peaceful, Free and Fair Elections in Ghana in 2012." The project was initiated following the increasing resort to indecent expressions among political activists in elections-related and general political discussions, particularly on radio, and their possible implications for peaceful elections. The project is being funded by STAR-Ghana and is due to end in December 2012.

The project is aimed at ensuring issues-based and decent language campaigning in the 2012 elections. It involves daily monitoring of language/ expressions by politicians and activists on specific programmes on 31 selected radio stations across the country. The monitoring also includes assessing the conduct of the stations that are being monitored. The daily monitoring is done by 31 trained graduate teachers.

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 the individuals who make indecent expressions, their political party affiliation and the radio stations on which such expressions are used.

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