Media expert and former Board Chairman of the Graphic Communications Group Ltd., Prof. Kwame Karikari, has said that most governments in Africa have been hesitant to initiate policies to strengthen the media as an institution for the advancement and promotion of democracy.
He said records showed that most governments on the continent had the tendency to weaken media freedom and independence.
Prof. Kwame Karikari was speaking at the opening of the seventh edition of the West Africa Media Excellence Conference and Awards in Accra on the theme “Media and Democracy in Africa.”
The two-day event is the initiative of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), a Civil Society Organizations, (CSO) aimed at promoting media excellence in the West Africa sub- region.
Prof. Karikari further said the practice of democracy in some countries on the continent made the media and media freedom a genuine casualty. He continued that such freedom had not been sustained largely because the states had often not gone beyond making constitutional provisions for press freedom.
He mentioned Ghana and Mali, among others, as some of the countries where the number of media establishments, especially radio and television, appeared to be more than their local economies could sustain.
He added that, many television and radio broadcasting are reduced to long hours of cheap low quality entertainment videos and poor talk shows, while few private television stations cannot afford to produce news and current affairs programmes of appreciable professional standards.
He also mentioned that, the challenges bedeviling the newspaper industry had compelled some organizations to establish Online publications. He continued that freedom on social media is frequently threatened with bans and closures by governments, especially during elections