Fact-based reporting for journalists, critical media consumption for young people, and dialogues between media, civil society and political authorities are the focus of DW Akademie's projects in Ghana.
Whether Ghanaians use their smartphones for paying at the market or surf the Internet on 4G – as elsewhere, advanced digitization in Ghana is providing citizens with new opportunities. It is also rapidly changing media consumption. According to a recent DW Akademie study, young people now turn more to online media than the radio for information, even in rural areas. Social media have also become an important information source.
This poses major challenges for the media sector and requires new digital skills for journalists, especially in terms of researching and fact-checking. Media consumers also need new skills for critically evaluating media content.
While news and rumors are increasing on the Internet, as are cyberbullying and hate speech, there is little awareness in Ghana about the dangers they can pose. Media literacy, however, is still uncommon.
Ghana ranks 27th on Reporters Without Borders' 2019 Press Freedom Index (2018: 23rd). In 2018 journalists received more threats than in previous years, and some were subjected to violent attacks. Citizens and the media have little access to public records even though this right is enshrined in the constitution. In March 2019 the parliament passed the Right to Information Bill to more closely regulate legal rights. The law is to be put into effect in 2020, but whether public officials will communicate more clearly with the population remains to be seen.
DW Akademie projects in Ghana aim to strengthen a public dialogue that rests on fact-based, balanced reporting – not just in the country's capital Accra, but in the Ashanti Region and Northern Region, as well. With DW Akademie support, the National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI) is establishing high-quality training courses for media outlets and journalists. For the first time, these trainings will also be offered in the regional capitals Kumasi and Tamale.
Media and consumers also need to identify and demand quality journalism. For this, DW Akademie is supporting Penplusbytes (PPB), a non-governmental organization, in building a Center of Excellence for media and information literacy (MIL). Young people will acquire a critical approach to sensationalism and fake news that are spread on social media.
To produce facts-based reports, journalists need to access information from public authorities. The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) is working with DW Akademie in the three above-mentioned regions to strengthen the information exchange between district authorities, the media and civil society.
Funding sources: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country coordinator: Beate Weides
Locations: Accra (Greater Accra), Kumasi (Ashanti Region), Tamale (Nothern Regions)
Local partners: Penplusbytes (PPB), Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI), JoyFM, CitiFM, Ghana Community Radio Network (GCRN), Youth Bridge Foundation, Curious Minds, University of Ghana, UNESCO Field Office in Ghana, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in Ghana
Focal points: Social participation, qualification, freedom of information/access to information from public authorities, professionalism and journalists' networks