Media observers say Ghana has one of the most open broadcasting environments in sub-Saharan Africa. There are dozens of independent radios in the country – and a couple of independent television stations in the capital. Some of the private broadcasters are part of networks that reach well beyond the capital. Often, radio stations carry foreign broadcasts like the Voice of America, Deutsche Welle, and the BBC. Now, the Voice of America is strengthening its role in Ghana’s media scene with a full-time station operating in the capital.
What is the contribution of the international media to the Ghanaian public? For the answer to that question, English to Africa reporter William Eagle spoke with Kwami Karikari, the president of an independent body that advocates press freedom, the Media Foundation for West Africa, in Accra.
Professor Karikari says foreign broadcasters bring important political and economic news to Ghana’s foreign policy establishment and business community. Also, they are the only broadcasters with the resources to bring regional and pan-African news to Ghanaian listeners. Professor Karikari says even local newspapers base their foreign news on information provided by international broadcasters.
Radio, he adds, is the media of choice for West Africans in part, because of their affordability – and portability. Radio can be heard in cars, marketplaces, offices and under trees. Professor Karikari says among the topics he thinks the public would probably like the new VOA station to carry are reports on Ghanaians in the diaspora and news from across Africa.