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PRESS STATEMENT: Asiedu Nketia and Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie (Sir John) cited in the use of indecent expressions on radio

By MFWA

The Media Foundation for West Africa's (MFWA) report on campaign language monitoring for August 12–18, 2012 indicates that the General Secretaries of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketia, and the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie (Sir John), were part of the people who made indecent expressions on radio.

Asempa FM,an Accra-based radio station was the platform on which the highest number (5) of indecorus expressions was made.

Below is the full report:
MFWA: REPORT ON CAMPAIGN LANGUAGE MONITORING ON RADIO

The monitoring of campaign language-use on radio by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) over the past week (August 12 – 18, 2012: week 20 of monitoring) has revealed that a total of 16 indecent expressions were recorded. The General Secretaries of the two main political parties in the country, the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), were part of those who made the 16 indecent expressions. Unsubstantiated allegations, insulting/offensive comments and provocative remarks were the categories of indecent expressions used. Other details of the findings, such as the political affiliation and the names of the individuals who made indecent expressions and the radio stations on which indecent expressions were recorded are reflected in this report.

The monitoring of language-use on radio is a project by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) with funding from STAR-Ghana. The main aim of the project is to promote decent language campaigning for the 2012 elections in Ghana.

General Findings on Expressions Used
Reports received from our monitors on the programmes monitored in the course of the week under review were 91 in all. The reports covered 30 of the 31 radio stations selected for the project. The reports indicated that most of the programmes on which indecent expressions were captured were morning and evening/night political discussion talk shows. The main subject matter around which majority of the indecent expressions was made was the health of the late President, H.E. John Evans Atta Mills.

A total of 16 indecent expressions were recorded on 10 of the programmes aired on six (6) radio stations. The breakdown is as follow:

· Unsubstantiated Allegations: 6
· Insulting/Offensive Comments: 5
· Provocative Remarks: 5

It appears that these three categories of indecent expressions are often used in attacking people since at least one of them is recorded almost every other week.

Expressions Used by Political Party Affiliation

The 16 indecent expressions were made by three groups of people/stations. Thirteen (13) out of the 16 indecent expressions were made by officials/supporters of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP). Affiliates of the NDC, however, led by registering half (8, representing 50%) of the indecent expressions recorded. Officials/supporters of the NPP followed with five (5, representing 31.2%) of the indecent expressions. The remaining three indecent expressions were made up of replays of indecent expressions by two radio stations and an indecent remark read and interpreted by a presenter. The affiliation of the radio stations and the presenter could not be established.

Table 1 below gives the breakdown of the indecent expressions recorded and the political party affiliation of those who made them.

Table 1: Expressions Used by Political Party Affiliation

Political Party of Affiliation Types of Expressions Used
Unsubstantiated Allegations Insulting/ Offensive Comments Provocative Remarks Total
NDC 2 2 4 8
NPP 2 2 1 5
Affiliation not mentioned/established 2 1 0 3
Total 6 5 5 16

Officials of the two political parties who were found to have made two indecent expressions each are:

1. Mr. Allotey Jacobs, the Central Regional Director of Communications for the NDC

2. Hon. Betty Bosumtwi-Sam, aformer Deputy Minister for the Western Region and an NDC member

3. Mr Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie (Sir John), the General Secretary of the NPP

Expressions Used by Gender
Only one female was found culpable of the use of indecent expressions. Specifically, two of the 16 indecent expressions were made by a woman. However, no gender-specific indecent expression was made over the one-week period.

The individuals who made the indecent expressions are named below (including those named above). The radio stations and the dates on which the indecent expressions were made are also indicated.

Unsubstantiated Allegations
1. Mr Allotey Jacobs of the NDC during Adom FM's Dwaso Nsem of August 14, 2012


2. Asempa FM replayed the allegation made by Mr Allotey Jacobs on Adom FM during its Ekosii Sen programme of August 14, 2012

3. Mr Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie (Sir John), General Secretary of the NPP – during Asempa FM's Ekosii Sen programme of August 15, 2012

4. Adom FMreplayed the allegation made by Mr Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie (Sir John) on Asempa FM's Ekosii Sen programme during AdomFM's6:00 pm Newsaired on August 15, 2012

5. Hon. Betty Bosumtwi-Sam, a former Deputy Minister for the Western Region and an NDC member – during Skyy Power FM's Jolly Breakfast Showof August 15, 2012

6. A caller who identified himself as Hadzi and as an NPP supporter from Takoradi – during Skyy Power FM's Jolly Breakfast Show of August 15, 2012.” This comment was also considered offensive.

Insulting/offensive
1. Obedombie Kwaku Adukumi, an Adom FM presenter, read and translated indecent expressions from the Ghana Palaver newspaper during Adom FM's Newspaper Review segment of August 15, 2012.

2. A panellist on Obuoba FM's Kasa programme of August 14, 2012 who was identified only as Frimpong and an NPP representative – during the said programme. The presenter, Oheneba Kissi, asked him to retract the statement but Frimpong said he was quoting from someone else and so didn't retract.

3. Mr Sule Bello, the NDC representative who was also on the Obuoba FM's Kasa programme of August 14, 2012 responded to Frimpong's comment with an offensive remark. The presenter, Oheneba Kissi, told him to retract the statement and he did.

4. Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, the General Secretary of the NDC – during Citi Eyewitness News of August 16, 2012

5. Mr Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie (Sir John), the General Secretary of the NPP – during Asempa FM's Ekosii Sen programme of August 15, 2012

Provocative remark
1. Mr Kakra Asamoah of the NDC – during Asempa FM's Ekosii Sen programme of August 13, 2012. The host, Mr. Kojo Asare Baffour Acheampong (KABA), made him retract the comment.

2. Hon. Betty Bosumtwi- Sam, a former Deputy Minister for the Western Region and an NDC member – during Skyy Power FM's Jolly Breakfast Show of August 15, 2012

3. Mr Allotey Jacobs of the NDC – during Asempa FM's Ekosii Senprogramme of August 15, 2012

4. Mr Ishmael Butler of the NDC – during Kessben FM's Maakye programme of August 15, 2012

5. Mr Kennedy Kankam of the NPP – during Kessben FM's Maakye programme of August 15, 2012

Note: As a policy, the MFWA has decided not to publish the indecent expressions people make since it will amount to rebroadcasting of those remarks. The MFWA has been urging radio stations to desist from the replay of indecent expressions on their networks since they tend to amplify such expressions and their potentially negative ramifications. Thus, the rebroadcasting of the specific indecent expressions recorded in this monitoring exercise will amount to the same inappropriate action. The specific expressions made by people cited in our reports are, however, available at the MFWA.

Expressions used by Radio Stations
The 16 indecent expressions were recorded on six radio stations. The radio station that registered the highest number of indecent expressions (5) was Accra-based Asempa FM, followed by Adom FM (also in Accra) and Skyy Power FM (in Takoradi) which recorded 3 indecent expressions each. Table 2 below presents the details of the types of indecent expressions captured on each of the six radio stations on which indecent expressions were made.

Table 2: Radio Stations on which Indecent Expressions were recorded

Radio Station Types of Expressions Used
Unsubstantiated Allegations Insulting/ Offensive Comments Provocative Remarks Total
Asempa FM 2 1 2 5
Adom FM 2 1 0 3
Skyy Power FM 2 0 1 3
Obuoba FM 0 2 0 2
Kessben FM 0 0 2 2
Citi FM 0 1 0 1
Total 6 5 5 16

Conclusion
As observed from some of the examples above, some moderators are doing well by insisting on the use of decent expressions on their respective networks. The MFWA commends such moderators for their efforts and encourage others to emulate their example. The MFWA, however, urges presenters/hosts, producers and station managers to be more proactive by educating and insisting on the use of decent language by those who feature on their stations even before they come on air. The reactive approach whereby hosts/presenters ask culprits to retract indecent expressions made, though good, is not enough since the indecent expression would have been made and the possible effects felt.

Once again, the MFWA is urging all radio stations to desist from the rebroadcast of indecent expressions since the act tends to amplify the intemperate expressions and their potentially negative consequences.

Issued by MFWA in Accra on August 23, 2012
The MFWA is a regional independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization based in Accra. It was founded in 1997 to defend and promote the rights and freedom of the media and all forms of expression.