Public Broadcasting and the Politics of Media in Ghana: A Case Study of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC)
AdvisorTettey, Wisdom, J.
AuthorAnoff-Ntow, Kwame Akuffo
Committee MemberTaras, David
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AbstractThis thesis tells the story of an African, national broadcaster, the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, GBC, and its efforts to transition into a public service organization. Since its inception in 1935, GBC has morphed through many forms: from a small, regional radio station, to a “giant media organization” with national footprint broadcasting across several platforms. Having lost its “privileged,” state-sponsored, monopoly status after Ghana’s fourth Republic, GBC is forced to chart a new course as competitive market forces and new communication technologies combine to exert new and unfamiliar pressures on its operations and editorial practices. This thesis focuses on how GBC has fared within this multi-party, competitive market environment, by focusing on the legislative regime that establish and guide its operations, and how through its institutional practice and “culture,” it has responded to the new media ecology. Within such a liberal regime where “public interest” is often interpreted as what the public is interested in, and the marketplace as the place for meeting individual preferences, how GBC is funded becomes an important component to how it conceptualizes and executes its public service mandate. How GBC’s funding sources affect its public service mandate constitute an important question for this study. Through the theoretical lens of political economy, this thesis analyzes institutional texts, interviews and other secondary data to gauge the extent to which GBC has lived up to its constitutional, public service mandate, and concludes that while it has fared well in some sectors, a lot remains to be done. It observes that although geographical and language access has improved, GBC’s scope of programming has not due largely to its excessive reliance on advertising and sponsorship revenue. It concludes that GBC could lose its editorial control over externally generated programs and dilute its public service brand unless it adopts modern day broadcasting practices of commissioning such programs. The study recommends that a leaner, media organization, with a responsive management and technology, driven by well-trained human resource will transform GBC into a communicative space that truly serves as the avenue for democratic expression for its “audience, as citizens, players or consumers” (Syversten, 2010).
CitationAnoff-Ntow, K. A. (2016). Public Broadcasting and the Politics of Media in Ghana: A Case Study of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) (Unpublished doctoral thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB. doi:10.11575/PRISM/27478
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