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Journalistic ethics and elections news coverage in the Ghanaian press: a content analysis of two daily Ghanaian newspaper coverage of election 2020

Mohammed Faisal Amadu (Department of Communication, Innovation and Technology, Faculty of Communication and Cultural Studies, University for Development Studies, Tamale, Ghana)
Eliasu Mumuni (Department of Communication, Innovation and Technology, Faculty of Communication and Cultural Studies, University for Development Studies, Tamale, Ghana)
Ahmed Taufique Chentiba (Department of Public Relations and Advertising, Faculty of Communication and Cultural Studies, University for Development Studies, Tamale, Ghana)

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society

ISSN: 1477-996X

Article publication date: 11 October 2022

Issue publication date: 31 January 2023

249

Abstract

Purpose

This study investigates the incidence of ethical violations in the Ghanaian press which has become topical in the wake of misinformation in a charged political atmosphere. Public interest institutions have questioned the unprofessional conduct of journalists covering election campaigns in recent years. This study content analysed political stories from two leading Ghanaian newspapers (Daily Graphic and Daily Guide) to determine the nature and extent of ethical violations, and to examine the level of prominence accorded to political news stories by the two dailies.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper relied on qualitative content analysis for data gathering and analysis. A total of 387 political news items published between 1 October and 30 November 2020, were analysed.

Findings

This study found infractions of various nature to Article 1 of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) codes of ethics, chief among which is the deliberate publications of news stories without cross-checking facts. Other infractions to Articles 17, 11, 6 and 5 of the GJA codes of ethics were observed. Political news coverage favours the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) than any other parties, with the two parties (NPP-NDC) given greater prominence and salience by the Ghanaian press.

Originality/value

The research makes a modest contribution to the growing concern of journalism ethics in an increasing ecology of fake news.

Keywords

Citation

Amadu, M.F., Mumuni, E. and Chentiba, A.T. (2023), "Journalistic ethics and elections news coverage in the Ghanaian press: a content analysis of two daily Ghanaian newspaper coverage of election 2020", Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 63-75. https://doi.org/10.1108/JICES-04-2022-0039

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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