Indicators of Risks to Media Pluralism

Media Audience Concentration

This indicator assesses the concentration of audience and readership across media platforms based on audience share. Concentration is measured by using the nationwide biggest 4 owners in the market. Presented are the sums of the audience shares based on the GeoPoll surveys for Jan-March 2017.

Result:
HIGH RISK (72,7%)

Why?
With a highly concentrated TV and print market, and a medium concentration in the radio market, media audience concentration puts a HIGH RISK on media pluralism in Ghana.

The PRINT market shows almost a maximum concentration. The Top 4 companies - state-owned Graphic Communications Group Limited, state-owned New Times Corporation, Western Publication Limited and The Business and Financial Times Limited (B&FT), – together get 95.87% of the readership. Especially concerning is the fact that there is a high concentration even only looking at the two state-owned companies, which get over two third (72.11%) of the readership, with the Graphic Communications Group Limited publishing a number of news and entertainment papers. Western Publications Limited (Daily Guide) is privately-owned; however, its majority shareholder is Frederick Blay, who is Chairman of the ruling New Patriotic Party government. The B&FT is run by Edith Dankwa, who is a group publisher for several pan-African magazines and CEO of B&FT Limited.

The TV market is highly concentrated, as the major 4 companies (Multimedia Group, U2 Company/Despite Group of Companies, TV3 Network/ Media General Ghana Limited  and the state-owned Ghana Broadcasting Corporation) represent an audience share of 77.39%. The Multimedia Group operates Multi TV, a satellite television station with several channels. It is owned by the media entrepreneur George Kwesi Tsum – with the state-owned Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) holding 7.5% minority shares. Despite Group of Companies operates a chain of media outlets and U2 Company Limited, which runs UTV, as subsidiary. Businessman Dr. Osei Kwame owns the Despite Group as sole shareholder and also 50% shares in U2 Company Limited. Modern Ghana Media Communication Limited has three shareholders: Andre Young Bawa, Niibi Sowah as well as journalist, web developer and SEO expert Roger Agambire Agana - with the latter own the majority of shares.

The RADIO market is more diverse and ‘market leaders’ differ from region to region. Again the Multimedia Group (20.15%) and the Despite Group of Companies (16.28%) – like in TV - have a considerable standing in the market with each of them operating several stations. The next bigger companies follow with some distance: Omni Media Company Limited (Citi FM, 4.72%), which didn’t have an official profile available at the Registrar General’s Department but according to news reports, has been founded by entrepreneur Nik Amarteifio. And Kessben FM Limited (Kessben FM, 3.62%), which is a subsidiary of the Kessben Group of Companies in Kumasi. It is run by businessman Stephen Boateng ‘Kwabena Kesse’ as sole shareholder, founder and CEO of the Kessben Group of Companies. Those 4 together hold an audience of 44.72%, which means a medium concentration. In fact, all following companies play in about the same league, mingling just under 2% audience share each.
Looking at the radio market, the state-owned Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) takes a particular position: it needs to be considered as a big player as they broadcast via a number of regional radio stations - Radio Savannah, Volta Star Radio, Obonu FM, Radio Bar, GBC Uniiq FM, Radio Central, Sunrise FM, Radio Upper West, Twin City FM - in all of the ten regions. Their audience share could not be added up as they were only surveyed on a regional level. However, some of those state-owned radio stations are leading stations and thus opinion-leader in their respective regions (e.g. Radio Upper West is 1st in Upper West Region, Volta Star Radio is 2nd in Volta Region).

For the ONLINE market, data was only available in unique visitors but not as audience share. This inhibited to compute an audience concentration for the online news market. The most popular websites, however, all belong to companies that also publish other media outlets, which strengthen their cross-media presence.

LOW (1)MEDIUM (2)HIGH (3)
Audience concentration in television (horizontal) 

Percentage:  77,39%

  • Multimedia Group: Adom TV (18,42%), Joy Prime (10,63%), Joy News (7,67%) = 36,72%
  • U2 Company/ Despite Group of Companies: UTV (16,42%) = 16,42%
  • TV3 Network/ Media General Ghana Limited: TV3 (15,28%) = 15,28%
  • Ghana Broadcasting Corporation: GTV (8,97%) = 8,97% (GBC24, GBC Govern, GBC Life, GTV Sports, Obuno TV not in Top20)
If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share below 25%.  If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share between 25% and 49%.  If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share above 50%. 
Audience concentration in Radio (horizontal) 

Percentage: 44,79%

  • Multimedia Group Limited:  Adom FM (9,5%), Joy FM (4,38%), Nhyira FM (2,77%), Asempa FM (2,14%), Luv FM    (1,36%), Hitz FM (not Top 20) = 20,15%
  • Despite Group of Companies: Peace FM (9,65%), Hello FM (4,26%), Okay FM (2,37%), Neat FM (only in Gr. Accra) = 16,28%
  • Omni Media Company Limited: Citi FM (4,72%) = 4,72%
  • Kessben FM Limited: Kessben FM (3,64%) = 3,64%
 
If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share below 25%.  If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share between 25% and 49%.  If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share above 50%. 
Readership concentration in newspapers (horizontal) 

Percentage:

  • Graphic Communications Group Limited: Daily Graphic (36,25%), The Mirror (12,16%), Junior Graphic (6,79%), Graphic Showbiz    (1,24%), Graphic Sports (1,15%), Graphic Youth World, Graphic Business = 57,59%
  • Western Publication Limited: Daily Guide (18,86%), News One (not Top20) = 18,86%
  • New Times Corporation: The Ghanaian Times (13,84%), The Spectator (0,68%) = 14,52%
  • Business and Financial Times Limited: Business and Financial Times (4,9%)= 4,9%
If within one country the major 4 Owners have a readership share below 25%. If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have a readership share between 25% and 49%.  If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have a readership share above 50%. 
Audience concentration in Internet (horizontal) 

Percentage: Audience share not available, only unique visitors.

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share below 25%.  If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share between 25% and 49%.  If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share above 50%. 

Media Market Concentration

This indicator aims to assess the horizontal ownership concentration based on market share which illustrates the economic power of companies/ groups. Concentration is measured for each media sector by adding the market shares of the major owners in the sector.

Result
The media market concentration based on market shares could not be computed. While the Registrar General provides access to some ownership data, financial data (revenue, advertising etc.) was not available a) per media company b) as market share and c) for the media sector.

Score: 

LOW (1)MEDIUM (2)HIGH (3)
Media market concentration in television (horizontal): This indicator aims to assess the concentration of ownership within the TV media sector. 
Percentage: not assessed    
If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have a market share below 25%.  If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have a market share between 25% and 49%.  If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have a market share above 50%. 
Media market concentration in radio (horizontal) : This indicator aims to assess the concentration of ownership within the Radio media sector.    
Percentage: not assessed    
If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share below 25%.  If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share between 25% and 49%.  If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share above 50%. 
Media market concentration in newspapers (horizontal) : This indicator aims to assess the concentration of ownership within the print  sector.
Percentage: not assessed    
If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have a market share below 25%.  If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have a market share between 25% and 49%.  If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have a market share above 50%. 
Media market concentration in Internet Content Providers 
Percentage: not assessed    
If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have a market share below 25%.  If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have a market share between 25% and 49%.  If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have a market share above 50%.  

Regulatory Safeguards: Media Ownership Concentration

This indicator assesses the existence and effective implementation of regulatory safeguards (sector-specific and/or competition law) against a high horizontal concentration ownership and/or control in the different media.

Result:
HIGH RISK

Why?

  • The relevant provisions of the Constitution do not include any articles or clauses aimed at preventing media concentration and monopolies.
  • Licensing in the audio-visual sector depends on the available frequencies. It is done in a relatively transparent by the National Communication Authority (NCA).  link to “How to get a license?" The decision about whether issuing a license or not, is not based on arguments that involve the applicant’s prior engagement in the media sector. There are no media-specific objective thresholds (e.g. number of licenses, audience share, turnover/ revenue) that would give the NCA a reason not to decide in favor of granting a franchise. The NCA exacts monetary fines and other forms of sanctions including suspension or revocation of licences and other frequency authorisations as provided by the applicable laws and regulations on owners and entities that violate or fail to comply with the conditions of the grant of those licences. What one doesn’t find in these laws and regulations is a deliberate precise requirement for disclosure of the owners and restrictions on the number of frequencies obtainable by them.  After granting the license, changes in ownership don’t have to be reported to the NCA but theoretically to the company register (Registrar General Department). The NCA can only revoke licenses based on technical misconduct, not to prevent concentration but e.g. if technical supervision would be lacking.
  • The NMC Act mandates the National Media Commission to regulate newspapers and other publications but only in a limited sense as it is prohibited from any act or conduct in the exercise of its regulatory functions that may seek to censor or control editorial content.
  • Online media – such as websites, blogs or other digital platforms - are at this point not required to register, or obtain permission from state authorities. 
  • Media-specific regulations for blocking a merger or acquisition don’t exist. There is also no competition body that would interfere with mergers and acquisition – unless it concerns stock-listed companies.
  • The pending Broadcasting Bill in its current draft would address the issue of concentration as it foresees restrictions on the holding of authorisations: a person could not have more than one in a region, and a maximum of three in the entire country. Consequently, a person of entity could maximum attain three authorisations in Ghana, with each of those being in a different region.

Sources:
- Legal Assessment
- Interview NCA
- NCA website
- NMC website
- NMC Act
- NCA Act


Regulatory Safeguard Score:
0 out of 20 – High Risk (0%).
1 = media-specific regulation/ authority
0.5= competition-related regulation/ authority

Table summarizes TV/Radio/Online/Print - Max. score: 4 per sector.    DescriptionYesNoNAMD
Does the media legislation contain specific thresholds or limits, based on objective criteria (e.g. number of licenses, audience share, circulation, distribution of share capital or voting rights, turnover/revenue) to prevent a high level of horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in this sector?     This question aims to assess the existence of regulatory safeguards (sector-specific) against a high horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in the TELEVISION/RADIO sector.    

 

  X

 

Is there an administrative authority or judicial body actively monitoring compliance with the thresholds in the print sector and/or hearing complaints? (e.g. media and/or competition authority)?     This variable aims to assess if the law/regulation provides a due monitoring and sanctioning system for the regulation on audiovisual media concentration.    

 

  X
Does the law grant this body sanctioning/enforcement powers in order to impose proportionate remedies (behavioural and/or structural) in case of non-respect of the thresholds?    

The variable aims at assessing if the law is providing a due system of sanctions to sector-specific regulation, such as:

- Refusal of additional licences;

- Blocking of a merger or acquisition;

- Obligation to allocate windows for third party programming;

- Obligation to give up licences/activities in other media sectors;

- divestiture.    

 

  X

  

Are these sanctioning/enforcement powers effectively used?     This indicator aims to assess the effective implementation of sector-specific remedies against a high horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in the television media.    

High Risk (0)

Total 

 0 of 16

 

Media MergersDescriptionYesNoNAMD
Can a high level of horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in the media sector be prevented via merger control/competition rules that take into account the specificities of the media sector?    

This question aims to access the existence of regulatory safeguards (sector specific and/or competition law) against a high horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in the media sector through merging operations: 

- By containing media-specific provision that impose stricter thresholds than in other sectors;

- The mandatory intervention of a media authority in merger and acquisition cases (for instance, the obligation for the competition authority to ask the advice of the media authority);

- The possibility to overrule the approval of a concentration by the communication authority for reasons of media pluralism (or public interest in general), that - even tough they do not contain media-specific provisions - do not exclude the media sector from their scope of application. 

  X
Is there an administrative authority or judicial body actively monitoring compliance with rules on mergers and/or hearing complaints? (e.g. media and/or competition authority)?     This variable aims to assess if the law/regulation provides a due monitoring and sanctioning system.          X
Does the law grant this body sanctioning/enforcement powers in order to impose proportionate remedies (behavioural and/or structural) in case of non-respect of the thresholds?    

The variable aims of assessing if the law is providing a due system of sanctions to sector-specific regulation, such as; 

- Blocking of a merger or acquisition; 

- obligation to allocate windows for third party programming;

- Obligation to give up licences/activities in other media sectors;

- divestiture

      X
Are these sanctioning/enforcement powers effectively used?     This indicator aims to assess the effective implementation of sector-specific remedies against a high horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in the television media.    High Risk (0)

Total 0 of 4

 Sources: 

National Communications Authority (n.d.). Web presence of the National Commnications Authority. Accessed June 2017.

National Media Commission Act, 1993 (Act 449)
National Communications Authority Act, 2008 (Act 769)
Samson Lardy Ayenini (2017). Media Ownership Monitor - Legal Assesment.
Interview with the National Communications Authority (July 11th, 2017)

Cross-media Ownership Concentration

This indicator aims to assess the concentration of ownership across the different sectors – TV, print, audio, and any other relevant media – of the media industry. Cross-media concentration is measured by adding up the market shares of the Top media companies. In this case, market shares were as unavailable as financial data in general. Cross-media ownership was instead calculated on the basis of weighted audience shares for the print, radio, TV market. Audience shares for online outlets were not available. The results are not an indicator for economic strength in different media sectors but rather for the potential influence on public opinion when considering all media types.

Result
HIGH

Why?
The major 4 owners - when looking at the national media - have an audience share of 86.7% across TV, radio, print. However, cross-media ownership remains separate between the broadcasting and print sector. Only state-owned media and the Excellence in Broadcasting Network are active in all four media sectors. Major owners of TV outlets tend to also have radio outlets – which are connected to popular news websites (Peace FM – peacefmonline; Citi FM – citifmonline). The print media is mostly run by owners and companies that focus on the print sector.

  • The Multimedia Group unites around 33.9% of the weighted TV and radio audience. The legal status of the Multimedia Group is, however, vague as not all of the media outlets operating under its umbrella are officially registered to it. The number of media outlets that were counted here to calculate the impact on the audience, are the ones listed on Multimedia’s own website. Multimedia Group was not found with a profile at the Registrar General’s Department, only Multimedia Broadcasting Limited.
  • The state owns Ghana Broadcasting Corporation as well as Graphic Communications Group Limited that are popular in all four media sectors and thus enjoy a weighted audience share of 21.5%. This is without counting the smaller radio stations for which audience data was only available for a regional population.
  • As the third biggest owner, Osei Kwame was identified: he is sole shareholder of the Despite Group of Companies as well as half of the shares in U2 Company Limited. With those media endeavors, he reaches out to 19.7% of the weighted audience.
  • Media General Ghana Limited operates popular TV3 through the TV3 Network by owns accounts, as well as some regional radio stations. Together they reach about 8.5% of the weighted audience.

Score:

LOW (1)MEDIUM (2)HIGH (3)

Percentage:

Percentage Top 2: 86.7%

If within one country the major 8 owners (Top8) have a market share below 50% across the different media sectors.  If within one country the major 8 owners (Top8) have an audience share between 50% and 69% across the different media sectors.  If within one country the major 8 owners (Top8) have a market share above 70% across the different media sectors. 

 

 

 

Regulator Safeguards: Cross-media Ownership Concentration

This indicator aims to assess the existence and effective implementation of regulatory safeguards (sector-specific and/or competition law) against a high degree of cross-ownership between media types (press, TV, radio, internet).

Results
HIGH RISK


Why?

  • There is no authority actively monitoring cross-media ownership. There is no political or juridical awareness for that phenomenon of cross-media-concentration, effective merger control in Ghanaian media market is missing.
  • Due to that lack of regulation, cross-media-ownership giants like the Despite Group of Companies, the Multimedia Group Limited, and the EIB Network Limited could develop: they own and operate at least four radio stations each and their brands are arguably the most dominant, powerful with the lion’s share in terms of audience and advertisement. They also operate some of the biggest brands in the television and online media industry.


Regulatory Safeguard Score:
0 out of 8 – High Risk (Regulation: 0%).

CROSS-MEDIA OWNERSHIPDescriptionYesNoNAMD
Does the media legislation contain specific thresholds, based on objective criteria, such as number of licences, audience share, circulation, distribution of share capital or voting rights, turnover/revenue, to prevent a high degree of cross-ownership between the different media?     This indicator aims to assess the existence of regulatory safeguards (sector-specific and/or competition law) against a high degree of cross-ownership in different media sectors.      X
Is there an administrative authority or judicial body actively monitoring compliance with these thresholds and/or hearing complaints? (e.g. media authority=1, competition authority=0,5))     This variable aims to assess if the law/regulation provides a due monitoring and sanctioning system for the regulation on audiovisual media concentration.      X
Does the law grant body sanctioning/enforcement powers in order to impose proportionate remedies (behavioural and/or structural) in case of non-respect of the thresholds?    

The variable aims at assessing if the law is providing a due system of sanctions to sector-specific regulation, such as:

- Refusal of additional licences;

- Blocking of a merger or acquisition;

- Obligation to allocate windows for third party programming;

- Obligation to give up licences/activities in other media sectors

- divestiture.

  X
Are these sanctioning/enforcement powers effectively used?    

the relevant authority never uses its sanctioning powers

The question aims at assessing the effectiveness of the remedies provided by the regulation.    
  X
Can a high degree of cross-ownership between different media be prevented via merger control/competition rules that take into account the specificities of the media sector?    

For instance, cross-ownership can be prevented by comptetion law:

- by the mandatory intervention of a media authority in M&A cases (for instance, the obligation for the competition authority to ask the advice of the media authority);

- by the possibility to overrule the approval of a concentration by the competition authority for reasons of media pluralism (or Public interest in general);
 Even though the law does not contain media-specific provisions - it does not exclude the media sector from its scope of application
  X
Is there an administrative authority or judicial body actively monitoring compliance with these rules and/or hearing complaints? (e.g. media and/or competition authority)     This variable aims to assess if the law/regulation provides a due monitoring and sanctioning system for the regulation against a high degree of cross-ownership in different media sectors via merger control/competition rules       X
Does the law grant body sanctioning/enforcement powers in order to impose proportionate remedies (behavioural and/or structural) in case of non-respect of the thresholds?    

Examples sanctioning/enforcement powers and remedies:

- blocking of a merger or acquisition;

- obligation to allocate windows for third party programming;

- must carryobligation to give up licences/activities in other media sectors;

- divestiture. 

  X
Are these sanctioning/enforcement powers effectively used?     The question aims at assessing the effectiveness of the remedies of the regulation.      No

Total (Mean of L-e und L-I sub-indicators)         0 of 8

Ownership Transparency

This indicator assesses the transparency of data about the political affiliations of media owners as ownership transparency is a crucial precondition to enforce media pluralism.  

Result:MEDIUM

Why?

  • Companies have to register at the Registrar General’s Department where they at least have to list the company form and shareholders. This information can be purchased for 25 cedis per company profile at the Registrar General’s Department. In order to complete missing data which was neither available online nor offline, all media outlets (37) and companies were contacted with a questionnaire. In general, the publicly available information was scarce and information on ownership structures was not presented actively by any of the media companies.
  • Active transparency means a company/channel informs proactively and comprehensively about its ownership, data is constantly updated and easily verifiable. In Ghana, actively transparent were the state-owned media outlets, belonging to Graphic Communication Group Limited, The New Times Corporation, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC). Those state-owned enterprises published ownership information on their websites. The only commercial company that provided such information was Media General Ghana Limited – lacking, however, information on the subsidiaries such as Digital Media Genera Ghana Limited. Some of the bigger companies (Multimedia Group, Despite Group) published information on their management and board of directors – but this alone did not count as ownership transparency. In total, only 8.1% of the media outlets were proactive when it came to providing ownership information.
  • Passive transparency means that upon request, ownership data is easily available from the company/from a channel. In Ghana, this was also low: 2 media outlets reacted to the sent questionnaires – Modernghana.com and the Graphic Communication Group Limited. While the Graphic Group provided additionally financial data to the proactively published data, Modernghana was counted as the only passively transparent media outlet (2.7%).
  • Data publicly available means ownership data is easily available from other sources, e. g. public registries etc.In Ghana, data was publicly available for the majority of the media outlets (56.8%) at the Registrar General’s Department. However, the quality of the official company profiles was poor and characterized by blanks. Data was often obviously outdated, with changes in ownership not recorded.
  • Data unavailable means ownership data is not publicly available; company/channel denies the release of information or does not respond, no public record exists. For 32.4% of the outlets, data was unavailable at the Registrar General’s Department even though it is obligatory to register there as a company and even though we paid for the company profile.
  • Active disguise means that in addition to unavailability of true data, ownership is disguised, e. g. through bogus companies, etc. A case like this could not be proven in Ghana. However, in some cases, the media companies had foreign investment companies as sole shareholders. For Yen Media this happened to be EA Investments Ltd., for which no ultimate beneficial owner was available.
  • Data unavailable means ownership data is not publicly available; company/channel denies the release of information or does not respond, no public record exists. For 32.4% of the outlets, data was unavailable at the Registrar General’s Department even though it is obligatory to register there as a company and even though we paid for the company profile.
  • Political affiliations don’t have to be specifically indicated and there is no non-conflict of interest legislation that would prohibit people holding a political office to also own a media outlet. The existing regulatory safeguards also can’t prevent the practice of layering company structures to obscure ultimate beneficial owners. This is subject to the Company Act that was passed in 2016. Now (link to profile).


LOW (1)MEDIUM (2)High (3)

How would you assess the transparency and accessibility of data about the media ownership?

Active Transparency – 8.1 %
Passive Transparency – 2.7 %
Data Publicly Available – 56.8 %
Data Unavailable – 32.4 %
Active Disguise - 0 %

Data on media owners as well as their political affiliations is publicly available and transparent.

(Active Transparency)

Code if that applies to > 75% of the sample

Data of media owners and their political affiliations are disclosed based on investigations of journalists and media activists or upon request.

(Passive Transparency, Publicly Available)

Code if that applies > 50% of the sample. 

Data on political affiliations of media owners are not easily accessible by the public and investigative journalists of activists are not successful in disclosing these data.

(Data Unavailable, Active Disguise)

Code if data is available for < 50% of the sample 

 

 

Regulatory Safeguards: Ownership Transparency

This indicator aims to assess the existence and effective implementation of transparency and disclosure provisions with regard to media ownership and/or control.

Result:
MEDIUM RISK


Why?

  • Even though they are no specific laws on ownership transparency, general transparency regulations also apply for the media sector (TV, radio, print, online). Setting up a company requires the registration at the Registrar General’s Department, where such information as the shareholders, directors, the legal form, date of incorporation etc. would be listed. Only recently, the Ghanaian Parliament has only recently passed the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2016 into Law. It has been revised to provide for the inclusion of the names and particulars of beneficial owners of companies in the register of members, as well as establish a Central Register to facilitate matters related to the disclosure of beneficial owners. The law requires, among others, disclosure of a subscriber to a company’s full name and any former or other names, date and place of birth, telephone contacts, proof of identity, residential, postal and email address as well as place of work and position held, nature of the interest including details of the legal arrangement in respect of a beneficial ownership and identity of members or beneficial owners who are politically exposed. A regulatory framework thus exists.
  • But the implementation is still lagging behind: archives at the Registrar General’s Department are uncoordinated, company profiles are showing blank spots, and some files could not be found. The available company profiles would not show the beneficial owners, as last year’s amendment cannot be enforced retrospectively. A final evaluation of the implementation of the revised Act will only be possible in a more distant future. 
  • Sanctions in case of non-respect of disclosure obligations could be theoretically imposed and brought to court – however, there has notably been no case.

Regulatory Safeguard Score:
14 out of 20 – Medium Risk (70%). Table shows TV, radio, press, online summarized. Max. score: 5 per sector.

Transparency Provisions (summarized for TV, Radio, Press, Online - max. score 5 per sector)DescriptionYesNoNAMD
Does national (media, company, tax...) law contain transparency and disclosure provisions obliging media companies to publish their ownership structures on their website or in records/documents that are accessible to the public?     The aim of the question is to check regulatory safeguard for transparency towards the citizens, the users and the public in general.   X
Does national (media, company, tax...) law contain transparency and disclosure provisions obliging media companies to report (changes in) ownership structures to public authorities (such as the media authority)?     The aim of the question is to check regulatory safeguard for accountability and transparency towards public authorities.      X
Is there an obligation by national law to disclose relevant information after every change in ownership structure?     This question aims at assessing if the law provides rules on the public availability of accurate and up-to-date data on media ownership. This is a condition for an effective transparency.      X
Are there any sanctions in case of non-respect of disclosure obligations?     This question aims at assessing if the law on media ownership transparency can be enforced through the application of sanctions.      X
Do the obligations ensure that the public knows which legal or natural person effectively owns or controls the media company?     This question aim at assessing the effectiveness of the laws that deal with media ownership transparency and if they succeed in disclosing the real owners of the media outlets.    
Medium:
some owners are still unknown
(=0,5)

Total14 out of 20 

Sources:

Samson Lardy Ayenini (2017). Media Ownership Monitor - Legal Assesment.

(Political) Control Over Media Outlets and Distribution Networks

This indicator assesses the risk of political affiliations and control over media and distribution networks. It also assesses the level of discrimination by politically affiliated media distribution networks. Discriminatory actions would for example include unfavorable pricing and posing barriers to media accessing the distribution channel. Political Affiliations means that the media outlet or company belongs to a party, a partisan group, a party leader or a clearly partisan person.

Result: MEDIUM

Why?

  • But the implementation is still lagging behind: archives at the Registrar General’s Department are uncoordinated, company profiles are showing blank spots, and some files could not be found. The available company profiles would not show the beneficial owners, as last year’s amendment cannot be enforced retrospectively. A final evaluation of the implementation of the revised Act will only be possible in a more distant future. 
  • Sanctions in case of non-respect of disclosure obligations could be theoretically imposed and brought to court – however, there has notably been no case.
  • But the implementation is still lagging behind: archives at the Registrar General’s Department are uncoordinated, company profiles are showing blank spots, and some files could not be found. The available company profiles would not show the beneficial owners, as last year’s amendment cannot be enforced retrospectively. A final evaluation of the implementation of the revised Act will only be possible in a more distant future. 
  • Out of the monitored media outlets, a third has shareholders with political affiliations or even is state-owned. The sizeable influence of politically affiliated parties is even more obvious when considering the reach that those media outfits enjoy.

    -    Especially politically affiliated print media has a big audience: the state-owned newspapers reach out to 72.2% of the audience. Together with the Daily Guide, run by Western Publication of which NPP-Chairman Frederick Blay as majority shareholder, they provide 91% of the population with their information.

    -    Most of the popular TV outlets belong to the bigger media companies which seem not to have direct political affiliations. The state-owned GTV and as well as as GHOne (Excellence in Broadcasting) are directly linked to either the government or partisan persons, and together cover an audience of 15.5%.

    -    On a national level, only Oman FM, Angel FM and Radio Gold have a political affiliation (5.3% audience share). According to the MOM advisory group, however, there are even a bigger number of especially regional media outlets in the hands of local politicians. This is related to an in transparent licensing process which is said to work in advantage of politically engaged individuals.

  • While print appears to be largely under the potential control of politically affiliated owners, the picture is less severe for the national radio or TV market. However, the GBC’s radio network, which has affiliates all over the country, is considerable regarding its influence in the regions. Also, it holds 7.5% of shares in Multimedia Broadcasting Limited (related media outlets were not counted as politically affiliated as this is only a minority share). All in all, a medium level of political control over the monitored media outlets was shown.
  • To what extent those links influence media coverage on certain topics, still needs to be explored through content analysis.

 Political affiliated media owners:

  • Dr. Kwabena Duffour (Daily Heritage, GHOne TV, Agoo TV, Starr FM, Ultimate Radio, Agoo FM, Abusua FM, Empire FM, Kasapa FM, Live FM, and related online platform) served as Minister of Finance in the National Democratic Congress government under the presidency of the late Professor John Evans Atta-Mills.
  • Gabby Otchere-Darko (The Statesman) is a member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and a cousin of the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo.
  • The Blay Family (Daily Guide, News One): Frederick Blay is acting Chairman of the ruling NPP and recently appointed Chairman of the Ghana National Petroleum Authority (GNPC). Gina Blay, CEO of Western Publications Limited, was recently appointed as Ghana's Ambassador in Germany.
  • Kwasi Sainti Baffoe-Bonnie (Gold TV, Radio Gold, MontieFM): the founder of Network Broadcasting Company Limited was a serving government official under the leadership of  the former president, President John Mahama.
  • The Agyapong Family (Net 2 TV, Oman FM, Ash FM, Spice FM): Stella Wilson Agyapong is married to  Kennedy Agyapong, the NPP MP for Assin Central  and Chairman of the select Committee on Communications, which is responsible for initiating legislation that concerns the media sector.
  • Dr. Kwesi Oteng (Angel FM, Angel TV): The daughter, Franscisca Oteng Mensah, is the NPP Member of Parliament for Kwabre East.
  • Kofi Coomson (The Chronicle): Friend of President Nana Akufo Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana.
  • State-owned enterprises: Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (Ghana Televison, GBC24, GBC Govern, GBC Life, GTV Sports, Obonu TV, Radio Savanna, Radio Central, Volta Star Radio, Radio BAR, Radio Upper West, Obonu FM, Sunrise FM, URA Radio, Apam FM, Dormaa Ahenkro Community Station, Twin-City Radio, Uniiq FM, Garden City Radio, Kaakye FM), Graphic Communications Group Limited (Daily Graphic, Junior Graphic, The Mirror, Graphic Business, Graphic Sports, Graphic Showbiz, Graphic Youth World), New Times Corporation (Ghanaian Times, The Spectator). Ghana Broadcasting Corporation also holds 7.5% in Multi Media Broadcasting Limited (Adom TV, Joy TV, Joy Prime, Joy News, Joy FM, Luv FM, Nhyira FM, Asempa FM, Hitz FM, Adom FM).
LOW (1) MEDIUM (2) HIGH (3)
POLITICATION OF MEDIA OUTLETS    
What is the share of TV / radio / online/ print media owned by politically affiliated entities?
The media having <30% audience share is owned (controlled) by a specific political party, politician or political grouping, or by an owner with specific political affiliation.     The media having <50% - >30% audience share is owned (controlled) by a specific political party, politician or political grouping, or by an owner with specific political affiliation.  The media having >50% audience share is owned (controlled) by a specific political party, politician or political grouping, or by an owner with specific political affiliation.    

 

Political control over media distribution networks
The overall level of (political) control over media outlets and distribution networks was assessed as a medium risk to media pluralism. A leading distribution network is defined as a network covering more than 15% of the national market.

Result: LOW

Why?
Political control over leading distribution networks is LOW - as they are either internationally based, or are run as businesses rather than public utilities.
The distribution network for print publications consists of a number of individual vendors. Problems in distribution are related to a relative unreliability of those vendors, who offer preferably those newspapers that are popular in order to increase their profit. Radio and TV Networks are directly related to the frequencies that are distributed by National Communication Authority (NCA), which is a governmental body. But the NCA is responsible for providing good service quality, and does not take occasional discriminatory actions against certain media outlets.Internet Service Providers are the distribution networks behind the Internet. All of the five most successful ISPs are foreign owned.

 

LOW (1)MEDIUM (2)HIGH (3)
How would you assess the conduct of the leading distribution networks for print media? 
Leading distribution networks are not politically affiliated or do not take discriminatory actions.     At least one of the leading distribution networks is politically affiliated or takes occasional discriminatory actions.     All of the leading distribution networks are politically affiliated and has a record of repeated discriminatory actions.    
How would you assess the conduct of the leading radio distribution networks? 
Leading distribution networks are not politically affiliated or do not take discriminatory actions.     At least one of the leading distribution networks is politically affiliated or takes occasional discriminatory actions.     All of the leading distribution networks are politically affiliated and has a record of repeated discriminatory actions.    
How would you assess the conduct of the leading television distribution networks? 
Leading distribution, are not politically affiliated or do not take discriminatory actions. At least one of the leading distribution networks is politically affiliated or takes occasional discriminatory actions.  All of the leading distribution networks are politically affiliated and has a record of repeated discriminatory actions. 
How would you assess the conduct of the leading Internet distribution networks? 
Leading distribution networks are not politically affiliated or do not take discriminatory actions. At least one of the leading distribution networks is politically affiliated or takes occasional discriminatory actions.  All of the leading distribution networks are politically affiliated and has a record of repeated discriminatory actions.  

The Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana for the 2017 Financial Year.

Legal Assessment

Regulatory Safeguards: (Political) Control Over Media Funding

This indicator assesses the influence of the state on the functioning of the media market, focusing particularly on the risk of discrimination in the distribution of state advertisements/ funding. The discrimination can be reflected in favoritism towards political parties or affiliates of political parties in the government, or in penalization of media criticizing the government. State advertising is understood as any advertising paid by governments (national, regional, local) and state-owned institutions and companies.

Results: HIGH RISK


Why?

  • State funds are allocated to the Ministry of Information which is responsible for distributing money to the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Information Service Department, and the National Film and Television Institute. According to the ‘Budget Statement and Economic Policy’, the Ministry of Information should use this money  “ to empower the people of Ghana through information dissemination, training and strengthening the capacity of the media for ownership of policies, programmes, projects and activities necessary for social and economic transformation.”
  • In 2016, the Ministry of Information  spent 24.3 mio. GHC (5.6 $), while they projected over twice the amount 55.2 mio. GHC (12.6 $). The Ghana News Agency came away empty-handed in 2016, meaning that they didn’t get the projected sum.The lion’s share went to GBC, in total 21.9 mio. GHC (5 mio. $), which is used for salaries and expenditures.
  • State advertising is, based on MOM’s legal assessment, distributed in an in-transparent and unfair procedure. Commercial broadcast media has to rely solely on advertising as radio and television stations mostly provide free-to-air services. For television and radio, government appears to place advertisements mainly in media outlets with a big audience share, but there is no public track-record or explanation for it. The same goes for print: the Graphic Group shares only a fraction of the state advertising with other print outlets like the Daily Guide Newspaper when the NPP is in government, or the Enquirer Newspaper when the NDC forms the government.

Regulatory Safeguard Score:
14 out of 20 – Medium Risk (70%). Table shows TV, radio, press, online summarized. Max. score: 5 per sector.

LOW (1)MEDIUM (2)HIGH (3)
Is the state advertising distributed to media proportionately to their audience share? 
State advertising is distributed to the media relatively proportionately to the audience shares of media. State advertising is distributed disproportionately (in terms of audience share) to the media.State advertising is distributed exclusively to few media outlets, which do not cover al major media outlets in the country. 
How would you assess the rules of distribution of state advertising?    
State advertising is distributed to media outlets based on transparent rules.     State advertising is distributed to media outlets based on a set of rules but it is unclear whether they are transparent.     There are no rules regarding distribution of state advertising to media outlets or these.   
IMPORTANCE OF STATE ADVERTISING    

What is the share of state advertising as part of the overall TV / Radio / Print/ online advertising market? 

VALUE: There is no data available on the share of state advertising in the market.  

Share of state advertising is <5% of the overall market.    Share of state advertising is 5%-10% of the overall market.     Share of state advertising is > 10% of the overall market.·  

Sources: 

Ministry Of Finance (2017). The 2017 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of teh Governement of Ghana 2017.
Samson Lardy Ayenini (2017). Media Ownership Monitor - Legal Assesment.
Exchange Rate from June 9, 2017 (1$ = 4,378 GHS)

(Political) Control Over News Agencies

This indicator assesses the range and independence of competing news agencies, including the assessment of the level of state ownership and level of independence of state owned news agencies.


Result:
Even if financial information on the news agency market is lacking and the indicator could only be partly evaluated, it overall shows a HIGH RISK. Even if international news agencies are also a relevant source for media outlets, the only news agency with a primarily national focus and with direct access to political information is a state corporation.

Why?

  • Ghana News Agency (GNA) was established in 1957 as the first news agency in Sub-Saharan Africa. Ghana’s first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, regarded GNA as counter-weight to biased reporting by international news agencies. After three years of existence as a government department, on 1 July 1960 - the day when Ghana was declared republic -, GNA became a state corporation.
  • Even if today, senior agency executives and the agency’s director are not directly appointed by the government or part of the presidential entourage with appointments now being made by the National Media Commission (NMC), GNA is still to about 90 percent funded by the government. Only the remaining 10% come from sales and advertisements.

Score:

LOW (1)MEDIUM (2)HIGH (3)

What is the market share of the leading news agency?

VALUE: There is no market share for news agencies available.    

No news agency dominates the market (occupy >30% of the market of news agencies).  One news agency has <50% ≥30% share of the market of news agencies.  The leading news agency has ≥50% market share.    
How would you evaluate the political affiliation and/or dependence of the largest news agency? 
None of the largest news agencies is dependent on political groupings in terms of ownership, affiliation of key personnel or editorial policy.     At least one of the largest news agencies is dependent on political groupings in terms of ownership, affiliation of key personnel or editorial policy.     Most or all of the largest news agencies is dependent on political groupings in terms of ownership, affiliation of key personnel or editorial policy.    

Sources: 

Ghana News Agency (n.d.). About Ghana News Agency. Accessed 7 June 2017.

Shrivastava, K. M. (2007). News agencies from pigeon to internet. Elgin, IL: New Dawn Press.

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