The reportage of the private print media has been characterized by “hateful and abusive language,” says a study conducted by a media research organization, Centre for Media Analysis (CMA).
The report covered 18 private media houses, including the Ghanaian Lens, Crystal Clear Lens, The Chronicle, the Insight, Crusading Guide, Daily Guide, the Palaver, and the Public Agenda.
Others were Statesman, Searchlight, Network Herald, the Heritage, Gye Nyame Concord, Catalyst, the Independent, Accra Daily Mail, Daily Dispatch and the Enquirer.
The research was to assess the performance of the media during the year and to offer suggestions on how the media could play a more effective role in the development of the country.
Launching, the report in Accra yesterday, the Chief Executive of the CMA, Dr. Messan Mawugbe, said that 368 insults involving 47 newspaper columns were recorded during the first and second quarters of the year.
Out of the 18 private newspapers, he said the Ghanaian Lens and the Palaver recorded the most insults of 212 and 80 respectively, while the Statesman, Daily Dispatch and Network Herald recorded no insult.
Dr. Mawugbe further said that the media of today are trading in hatred, swearwords and vulgar language which pose danger to the country's democracy and the society as a whole.
He appealed to journalists to adhere to the ethics of the National Media Commission by refraining from the use of abusive and vulgar language which defeats the purpose of freedom of expression
He noted that the media tend to focus on areas other than developmental issues citing as example stories on women and children which constitute only one per cent of all the editorials in the newspapers
Also business issues like rural banking, tourism, stock exchange and petroleum he said received less attention from the media, a situation which if not checked could hinder the development of the nation.
Dr. Mawugbe said the research showed that 28 per cent of stories on ex- president Rawlings were positive, 73 per cent negative and three per cent neutral while 11 per cent of stories on President Kufuor were positive, 85 per cent, negative and four per cent neutral during the same period.
He stressed the need for the media to play their role in nation building effectively rather than focusing on issues that tend to divide the country, reminding them of the NMC's print media guide lines that enjoin journalists to avoid using obscene, hateful and vulgar language.