Media Crusade Against Corruption in Ghana's Fourth Republic (2004-2012)
Uploaded by: Society For Research And Academic Excellence
Corruption, which has become a household word on the lips of almost everybody in Ghana, may simply be understood as the misuse of one‟s public office for benefits either for himself or herself or some other groups the person has affinity with. The role of the media in fighting corruption in a democracy is well known. Media exposure of corrupt officials enables the law enforcement agencies to arrest and prosecute culprits and this serves as a deterrent to other would-be offenders. Over the years, the corruption menace and its adverse effects on development have been of great concern to many people. In their efforts to combat corruption, successive Ghanaian governments have resorted to various means, including confiscation of property, imprisonment and even execution of convicted corrupt public officials. These measures, in spite of their punitive nature failed to deter Ghanaians from indulging in corrupt practices. In the light of the crucial role of the media in the fight against corruption, coupled with the expansion of the frontiers of free speech and the repeal of the obnoxious criminal libel and seditions laws, one would have thought the stage was set for an effective media crusade against corruption in the country. But, unfortunately this is not the case. The question then is: what has accounted for the lack of bite of the Ghanaian media in the fight against corruption despite its vibrancy and strength in Ghana‟s Fourth Republic? This paper seeks to achieve three objectives. First, to contribute to the ongoing debate on whether the media can be used as an effective instrument in the fight against the corruption phenomenon, whose roots are penetrating deep into the society. Second, to identify some of the high profile corruption cases in Ghana and government‟s indifference towards addressing them. Finally, the study attempts to establish why the government and the state institutions have not been performing their role as expected of them in the crusade. The study is anchored to the agenda setting theory of the media. To achieve the set objectives, articles on corruption covered by three private newspapers in Ghana, which have been at the forefront of the fight against the corruption menace, were picked for the study. It was evident the media has played its role in exposing corruption, but the lackadaisical responses of government and the failure of the appropriate state institutions to act, make the phenomenon blossom. There is the urgent need for both government and the relevant institutions to demonstrate serious commitment to crusade against this awful menace.
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