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Key findings
  • In Ghana, radio is the most popular news source: 80% of adults say they tune in "every day" or "a few times a week." Seven in 10 citizens (71%) say they regularly get news from television, and more than four in 10 are regular consumers of news from social media (43%) and the Internet (42%). Newspapers bring up the rear with 6%.
  • Almost nine out of 10 Ghanaians (85%) say the media should “constantly investigate and report on government mistakes and corruption.”
  • Three-quarters (74%) say the media should be free to publish without government interference.
  • A large majority (71%) see Ghana’s media as “somewhat” or “completely” free, while 28% say it is “not very free” or “not at all” free, up from 19% in 2019.
  • Fewer than half of respondents say they trust information from privately owned media outlets (48%), state-owned media outlets (44%), government sources (40%), and social media (38%).
  • More than a quarter (27%) of Ghanaians believe that “most” or “all” media persons from private and public institutions are corrupt.

Ghana’s media landscape is vibrant and dynamic, with 121 television stations, more than 500 radio stations, and a handful of daily newspapers (National Communications Authority,  2023a). With the proliferation of smartphones and digital platforms, 23 million Internet users  and 6.6 million social media users have access to avenues for activism, public dialogue, and  citizen journalism (Data Reportal, 2023). 

Once considered repressive, the country’s media environment opened up in the early 2000s  with the scrapping of laws that had criminalised libel and granted the president discretionary  power to ban news outlets (Media Foundation for West Africa, 2023), as well as the  expansion of privately owned media outlets. The National Communications Authority (2023b) was commissioned to regulate broadcasting and telecommunications and to ensure freedom and fairness in the media space. 

But while such steps helped earn Ghana honours as the top-ranked country in Africa – 23rd in  the world – on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index in 2018, concerns about  political interference, restricted access to information, and journalist safety have dropped  the country back to ninth place – 67th in the world – in 2023 (Reporters Without Border, 2023;  The Fourth Estate, 2023; United Nations Ghana, 2021). 

The Media Foundation for West Africa (2023) reported 30 press freedom violations in Ghana  in 2021 and 2022, two-thirds attributed to security agents, ranging from threats and arrests to  physical attacks and killing. The high-profile slaying of investigative journalist Ahmed Suale in  2019 remains unsolved (Ghana Business News, 2023). 

Efforts to ensure the free flow of information in Ghana continue, including the 2019 Right to  Information Law giving citizens access to information from public institutions and private  entities receiving public funds and the 2021 establishment of the Office of the Coordinated  Mechanism for the Safety of Journalists by the Ministry of Information and the National Media  Commission (Media Foundation for West Africa, 2023; allAfrica, 2021). 

The latest Afrobarometer survey offers a citizen-level view of Ghana’s media landscape.  While radio remains king among news sources, more than four in 10 Ghanaians regularly get  news from social media and the Internet. Most citizens say they want a media that is free  and serves as a watchdog over the government. And a large majority think Ghana’s media  qualifies as “somewhat” or “completely” free. 

But majorities are sceptical of information from privately owned as well as state-owned  media outlets, government sources, and social media. 

Maame Akua Amoah Twum

Maame is the communications coordinator for North and Anglophone West Africa at Afrobarometer

Albert Adjei Mensah

Albert Adjei Mensah is an assistant IT and information management specialist at the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana).