A former dean of the School of Information and Communications Studies at the University of Ghana, Professor Audrey Gadzekpo, has challenged media owners to improve the appalling working conditions of journalists.
A recent report by the University of Ghana’s Department of Communications Studies in collaboration with the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) dubbed, ‘the State of the Ghanaian media report,’ exposed the poor working conditions of many journalists in Ghana.
The average Ghanaian journalist according to the report earns GH¢500 and GH¢1,000 monthly with many owed arrears over the years.
Speaking to Citi News, Professor Audrey Gadzekpo said the poor working conditions of journalists make them vulnerable.
“Working conditions of journalists are very poor and it makes the practice of journalism even more precarious than you will think it should be. And I really do think that media owners and media managers must be engaged on this very critical issue. Of concern is the politicisation in media ownership, and the fact that it’s opaque, it’s not transparent,” Professor Audrey Gadzekpo suggested.
Some key findings in the report
FINANCIAL VIABILITY OF MEDIA
■ Generally, many media organisations in Ghana are not profitable; they only break even
■ The financial viability of many media organisations in Ghana is threatened.
■ Media in Ghana are creatively exploring new business models to stay alive; including digitization, conglomeration, events marketing and crowdfunding.
■ Digital technologies are fast-changing media financing models in Ghana.
■ Digital media are now a major source of income in the Ghanaian media.
■ One of the biggest threats to the financial health of the media is industry saturation.
WORKING CONDITIONS IN THE GHANAIAN MEDIA
■ Recruitment into the Ghanaian media is generally untransparent.
■ Many people working in the media do not have contracts.
■ There are no established structures for promotion in most media organisations; promotion is largely based on ‘whom you know’ and owners’/managers’ whims.
■ Salaries in the media are woefully low. Some employees work long months without pay.
■ Most media employees have no healthcare support
■ Most media organisations do not provide counselling support for employees who experience trauma in the line of work.
MEDIA OWNERSHIP AND REGULATION
■ In Ghana, media pluralism has not necessarily served the public interest, due mainly to concentration of media in a few hands.
■ Media ownership is shrouded in opacity.
■ There is a growing tendency towards media empire-building.
■ Political faces behind broadcast media ownership mean that partisan actors and governments can control public discourse.
■ The NCA has a laissez-faire attitude to questions about transparency in media ownership.
■ The current regime for broadcast regulation allows considerable power and influence to those whose conduct the media are supposed to check.
SAFETY OF JOURNALISTS
■ There is a growing sense of insecurity among journalists in Ghana
■ Violations of journalists’ safety are quite common in Ghana.
■ Male journalists are more at risk of attacks than females.
■ Investigative journalists are the most at risk of attacks
■ State actors, including political appointees and police are the worst perpetrators of attacks on
■ Journalists feel that law enforcement agencies and the judiciary do little to protect their safety.