Since 2018 the right to information has been enshrined in Ghana’s 1992 constitution (Chapter 12). Sustained political will was vital to the achievement of this constitutional reform and the legislation was taken as another hallmark of Ghana's thriving democracy,. This was in addition to successive peaceful transfers of government in a region beset with political and social turmoil. At the time, Ghana was lauded as a 'regional champion' for freedom of expression & media.
As one of the first Commonwealth countries to join the UK's Media Coalition alliance in 2018, Ghana is commonly perceived to have a vibrant independent press where journalism plays a crucial role in contemporary processes of democracy. But contradictions abound. Many believe that journalists and editors do not have the freedom to do their work, nor do they have free access to information. Government institutions often go to court to resist freedom of information requests. According to the World Press Freedom index, Ghanaian journalists also face risks of arrest, detention, and torture from state agencies as the police, military, intelligence service, and political operatives of ruling parties. The level of impunity from prosecution in threats, violence and even killings of investigative journalists is disturbingly high.
This seminar will discuss the structural problems and interests which impede media freedom in Ghana, and which have seen the country decline sharply in the WPF rankings.
Dr Abena Animwaa Yeboah-Banin (Senior Lecturer Department of Communication Studies)
Dr Abena Animwaa Yeboah-Banin is a senior lecturer at the Department of Communication studies, University of Ghana which also holds heads. She is also the lead investigator of the recently launched State of the Ghanaian Media Report. Dr Yeboah-Banin is an experienced strategic communication practitioner with over 15 years of teaching and practice experience. Her research interests lie in advertising, media development and gender. She has conducted research into audience reception and responses to brand communications, language in advertising, evolving media practices, and opportunities and challenges of women in media. Her research has been presented in several conferences including the International Association of Media and Communication Research (IAMCR), the International Communication Association in Africa (ICAfrica), the American Marketing Association (AMA) and the Trends in Media and Communication Conference (TiMC). She has also published her research in highly reputed journals including the Journal of Business Research, Journal of African Media Studies, Journal of African Business, Industrial Marketing Management and the Legon Journal of Humanities. She holds a doctorate degree from the University of Leeds and a Master of Philosophy degree from the University of Ghana. Her latest report can be found here.
David Kwaku Saforo Sakyi
Mr David Kwaku Saforo Sakyi is a co-host of both ‘Media Today’ on TV Africa as well as the radio show, the Citi Breakfast Show. He was also one of the main speakers at the 2015 TEDxACCRA event. He is renowned for his photographic work with Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, as well as over 40 different private organizations and multinationals. He has a passion to empower people, build capacity, character, and confidence. He’s done that through his breakfast shows on X FM and Daybreak Capital on Capital TV and currently through his work as a photographer and as a personal development coach, as well as Breakfast Daily on Citi TV.
Richard Dwomoh (PhD Student at ICwS & Researcher/Campaigns Coordinator at Amnesty International Norway)
Richard Dwomoh has been with Amnesty International Norway for over 15 years and has over the years led, managed and worked on various projects and themes, including on freedom of expression, human rights defenders, arms control, torture and the death penalty. Richard has an LL.M in International Law and is presently writing his doctoral thesis on “China’s Media Influence on Press Freedom in Africa: An Examination of ‘Agency’ in the Ghanaian Context”, at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advance Study, University of London. He has published books on the UN Security Council and Small Arms Control and the Responsibility to Protect in Libya and Syria; written a paper on “China's Global Activism on the Right to Development” for Amnesty International’s online sixteenth edition of China Abroad: diplomacy, development and human rights; and authored internal reports on the use of the death penalty as well as the promotion of human rights in Norwegian development policy.
This session will be chaired by Kingsley Abbott, Director of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies.