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Ghana’s Minister Urges Media Mergers Amid Economic Challenges

Kojo Oppong Nkrumah Advocates for Consolidation in Media Industry

by Adenike Adeodun

In response to the economic challenges facing Ghana’s media industry, Minister of Information Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has called on media organizations to consider mergers and acquisitions. Nkrumah noted that the oversaturation of media outlets has impacted the profitability of media houses, advocating consolidation as a solution to achieve economic viability.

Speaking in Accra during the launch of a report by the Centre for Democratic Development-Ghana (CDD-Ghana) on media governance and the Internet, Nkrumah stated, “While the expansive network of media houses is beneficial for our democracy, it poses economic challenges. Therefore, mergers and acquisitions could be a viable strategy for cutting costs and maximizing revenue.”

According to a report by Graphic Online, he highlighted that such strategic moves would ensure better remuneration for media professionals, including journalists, producers, and photographers. “We are all aware of the payment challenges in the industry,” he added.

The context of the Minister’s call is backed by a report showing an overabundance of media outlets in Ghana, with more than 200 television and over 700 radio stations. The report suggests that this saturation, while indicative of a liberalized media environment, has led to concentrated ownership among politicians, business people, and religious groups. This concentration has been linked to the spread of fake news and misinformation, as well as the low profitability of media houses and poor staff remuneration.

Addressing capacity-building, Nkrumah mentioned the government’s collaboration with stakeholders to support media houses and sanitize the industry. He referred to the national action plan against fake news, disinformation, and misinformation signed last year, set for implementation this year.

The Minister emphasized the importance of media literacy and public education on using media tools and fact-checking. He urged media houses to invest in fact-checking infrastructure, stating, “Media should not just report what politicians say but also fact-check.”

In terms of support, Nkrumah discussed the draft Broadcasting Bill, which includes initiating a public service broadcasting fund to aid media houses engaged in public service broadcasting. He also mentioned the International Fund for Public Interest Media’s African headquarters in Ghana, which will provide grants to Ghanaian media outlets focusing on development communication.

Furthermore, the Minister touched on regulating social media, explaining that the draft Broadcast Bill aims to define responsibilities for broadcasters, including those operating online.

Nkrumah’s call for media mergers and acquisitions highlights the need for strategic adaptation in Ghana’s media landscape, emphasizing the importance of economic sustainability alongside democratic values.

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