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Like most African countries, the years following independence were ripe with corruption and abuses, and its early governments had a tense relationship with the media. However, in recent years, Ghana has become one of the least corrupt and most free of the African nations.

Perhaps the first media outlet published in the area now known as Ghana was The Gold Coast Gazette and Commercial Intelligencer, which began publication in 1822, a newspaper that served to convey information to European merchants and civil servants, and to promote literacy in the local population, while encouraging cooperation with the Gold Coast government.

In the mid-1800s, there were African-owned newspapers that were mostly unhampered by the British colonial government. A surge in the independent press may have played a significant role in the early clamoring for the independence of Ghana. The first radio station in Ghana was Radio ZOY, which was operated by the British colonial government in 1935, largely to spread propaganda in support of the British government.

When Ghana declared its independence from Britain in 1957, there were only four newspapers in Ghana, and the new country's first president too control of all of them, using them for propaganda purposes and to deny political opponents a venue for criticism.

As power in Ghana changed hands through coups and elections, the control of the media lessened or strengthened, depending on who was in charge. Elected presidents generally loosened restrictions somewhat, while those who came into power through a military coup tightened the controls, even to the point of jailing newspapermen.

In 1992, Ghana approved a new constitution that repealed previous restrictions on the media. The 1992 constitution guaranteed freedom of the press, and prohibited censorship of the media. Despite these reforms, the new president, who had assumed power through a coup, was critical of the press, referring to the private press as being motivated by profit, but a private press was allowed to publish.

Since the election of a new president in 2000, tensions between the government and private media outlets have improved significantly. The press in Ghana has been described as being among the freest in Africa.

Although the press often carries strong criticism of government policies, Ghana now has several media outlets. Investigative reporting, scrutiny into the possibilities of corruption, and the publication of public opinions are commonplace in Ghana today.

Newspaper stands in Ghana will offer a large selection of broadsheet and tabloid newspapers and magazines, as there are more than a hundred newspapers in Ghana, including independent and daily newspapers. As might be expected, government-owned newspapers tend to encourage support for governmental policies, while the private press is more likely to be critical of government policies or actions, but none of them are going to prison for what they report. An independent commission was set up to monitor complaints about the media, which has resulted in apologies for false stories.

FM radio began in Ghana in 1988, but consisted largely of foreign radio station broadcasts, such as Voice of America and the BBC. In 1995, the government began issuing frequencies for private radio stations, and today talk radio has become very popular in Ghana. Most of its radio stations are in English, but there are several that use local dialects. There are also a few shortwave stations.

Television came to Ghana in 1965 but was originally state-controlled. The Ghana Broadcasting Corporation had a monopoly on television broadcasting until 1994. There are now seven TV stations in Ghana, including the GBC and four private channels, as well as CNN and the BBC. Viewers are also able to pick up foreign satellite signals.

The Internet has also added to the available media choices, with online news outlets as well as access to any other news sources. Ghana was one of the first countries in Africa to have Internet access, and the Internet is not restricted by the government. Although efforts are underway to improve the country's telecommunications network and choices, only about twenty percent of the population are estimated to have access to the Internet at this time, the problem being economic rather than political. As might be expected, Internet access may not be available in some of the rural areas of Ghana.

Topics related to all forms of media in Ghana are appropriate for this category.

 

 

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