Three Members of Parliament (MPs) and some officials of the two main political parties, New Patriotic Party (NPP) and National Democratic Congress (NDC), have been cited as having engaged in the use of indecent and abusive language on radio.
This was among several findings in the maiden report of the Media Foundation for West Africa’s (MFWA’s) election 2020 campaign language monitoring project.
The report, which is based on the monitoring of 597 programmes on 20 selected radio stations for the period June 1-14, 2020, cites the NPP MP for Assin Central, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong; NDC MP for Juaboso, Kwabena Mintah Akando; and NPP MP for ManhyiaNorth, Collins O. Amankwah for making insulting and offensive comments on the radio.
The NPP MP for Assin Central, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, who was also found to be the most abusive among all the other individuals cited during the monitoring period, also made unsubstantiated allegations, threats and expressions calling for confrontation. He singlehandedly made eleven out of the 51 indecent expressions recorded during the monitoring period.
The monitoring report also names the National Communications Officer of the NDC, Sammy Gyamfi; the National Youth Organizer of the NPP, Nana Boakye (Nana B); the Flagbearer of the United Freedom Party (UFP), Nana Agyenim Boateng, and some party officials at the regional level for making unsubstantiated allegations and other indecent expressions on radio.
Overall, officials and affiliates of the NDC recorded the highest number (17) of indecent expressions, closely followed by their counterparts in the NPP with 15 incidents. The other political parties whose affiliates were cited are the UFP with two indecent expressions, and the Convention People’s Party (CPP) with one incident.
Regarding the radio stations on which the indecent expressions were recorded, Accra-based Oman FM recorded the highest number (16) of indecent expressions mainly on its National Agenda programme. Power FM, also based in Accra, followed with 10 indecent expressions all of which were recorded on the station’s Inside Politics programme. The host of the Inside Politics programme on Power FM, Mugaabe Maase, was also found to have used the highest number of indecent expressions among the hosts of radio programmes that were monitored. Eleven other radio stations were also cited in the report.
The monitoring report is the first of several to be issued by the MFWA throughout the electioneering period under its Issues Not Insults campaign.
The monitoring and reporting of indecent language form part of the project, Promoting Decent Language and Issues-based Campaigning for Peaceful Elections in Ghana in 2020, by the MFWA. The project seeks to promote decent language and issues-based campaigning before, during and after Ghana’s 2020 elections for peaceful elections. This is the third time the project is being implemented after it was introduced ahead of Ghana’s 2012 elections and repeated during the 2016 elections. The previous projects resulted in over 80% reduction in the use of indecent campaign language and hate speech by political actors on radio ahead of elections.
In Ghana, the project is being implemented with funding support from the STAR-Ghana Foundation and OSIWA. This year, the project is also being implemented in Niger and Cote d’Ivoire ahead of their respective elections, with funding support from OSIWA.
The instrument being used for the monitoring, which contains the category definitions for tracking and reporting of indecent language on radio, is also available here.