The Ghanaian media are under resourced, making it difficult for media operators to sustain their businesses without relying on advertisements and sponsorship packages from Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).
This has therefore posed a severe danger to the stride towards ensuring transparency and responsiveness from government, traditional authorities and the private sector.
Dr Audrey Gadzekpo, Senior Lecturer, School of Communications, University of Ghana said this when she presented research findings on the performance of the Ghanaian Media for validation in Accra on Thursday.
She said the media seemed to be losing its lead of setting a balanced agenda and controlling mediation on discussions and debates to ensure national development.
Dr Gadzekpo noted that though the media seemed to be thriving, it was handicapped in terms of financial sustenance leading to its current sub-standard performance in terms of ethical standards and professionalism.
The research funded under the Strengthening Transparency, Transparency and Responsiveness in Ghana (STAR-Ghana) project, revealed major gaps within the media landscape of which funding and sustainability were key issues of concern towards credible media reportage.
STAR-Ghana Project, is a multi-donor funding providing support to civil society in Ghana to increase accountability, transparency and responsiveness of government, traditional authorities and private enterprises to Ghanaians and also increase the influence of Civil Society Organisations and Parliament in governance of public goods and service delivery.
Dr Gadzekpo, who is also a Consultant and Researcher into media accountability and transparency, mentioned other challenges such as low investment in the media, poor media management practices, lack of sound business practices, poor working conditions leading to poor media ethics and non professionalism within the media landscape.
She said the research revealed that though there was a high degree of media freedom, the inability of the media to utilise Information, Communications Technology (ICT) to enhance their work in terms of in-depth research into issues led to the publication of shallow news reports.
Dr Gadzekpo said there were also various areas such as education, maternal health and urban sanitation which are still under reported owing to the absence of specialisation to cover such thematic areas.
She recommended that for the media to effectively perform its role as the Fourth Estate of the Realm, there was the need to empower and equip practitioners with enhanced training through sponsorships and provided with the necessary support by both government and CSOs to enable them balance their reportage.
Mr Ibrahim Amidu-Tanko, Deputy Programme Manager, STAR-Ghana, said it was critical that all hands should be on deck to support the five-year multi-donor support programme.
The programme is to empower Ghanaians to actively participate and monitor the delivery of vital services including health care and education.