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Report: Ghanaian Media Not Financially Viable; Journalists Poorly Paid

A report on the state of the Ghanaian media has revealed that the media is not financially viable with the majority of journalists poorly paid.

The report compiled by the Communications Department of the University of Ghana and the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) also disclosed that the Ghanaian media industry is too heavily plagued by saturation, the cost of doing business in Ghana, dwindling advertising budgets [including capital fight onto social media platforms], and the after-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are affecting the viability of the media.

“The data shows that as in many other African countries, COVID-19 had a devastating impact on the Ghanaian media, causing loss of revenue and job cuts at a time when media were already under stress from disruptions in the information ecosystem caused by the internet, social media and big tech companies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter.

“Technological advancements…have also put major financial strains on media companies because they
must retool and modernise their operations to remain competitive.

The study also identified “another source of dwindling advertising revenue peculiar perhaps to the
local context – the fact that increasingly some organisations, especially churches that used to be
heavy advertisers have established their own media channels and no longer need to advertise in other
media.”

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.

■ Journalists feel that law enforcement agencies and the judiciary do little to protect their safety.

Here’s a link to the report: https://ug.edu.gh/commstudies/technical-reports

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