Knight International Journalism Fellowships

Ghana: Promoting Free and Fair Election Coverage


Knight International enabled journalists in Ghana to generate balanced reports on their country's 2008 presidential election. Knight Fellow Alison Bethel produced a first-of-its-kind election handbook that journalists used to focus on important issues and avoid stories that fuel partisan strife. The handbook was widely distributed to journalists throughout the capital. Ghana's peaceful election set a new milestone for democracy in Africa, thanks in part to the improved election coverage.

Knight Fellow Alison Bethel's election guide led to more balanced
reporting on the issues and candidates.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Electoral Commission credited violence-free elections in part to pre-vote training of journalists and the publication of “Free and Fair: A Journalist’s Guide to Improved Election Reporting in Ghana.”

  • Coached political reporters at the Daily Dispatch, Ghana's leading daily, to produce a series on campaign issues that affect the lives of Ghanaian citizens.

  • Spurred a redesign of the newspaper to provide better context and analysis in election stories.

Blogs

  • Mar 172009

    Power Outages Cripple Businesses Including Public Agenda, Newspaper Reports on the Issue

    Since the beginning of the year, several communities in Accra have been experiencing major power outages as well as water shortages. What it means is that the power will go out for hours, crippling some businesses, like Public Agenda. When the power's out we sit around and talk politics and journalism; some people use it as a time to take a walk or go get the standard lunch -- rice and some sort of meat or fish in a sauce made with plenty of palm oil or, if it's Wednesday, fufu with meat or fish (it's heavier food and it keeps the reporters full on production nights).

  • Mar 172009

    Partner Organization Wins Ghana National Honorary Award for "The Best In Print Media"

    Early into our partnership with Public Agenda, which bills itself as "Ghana's only advocacy and development newspaper," the publication received an award from the Ghana National Honorary Awards Hall of Fame for being "the best print media" in the promotion of peace during and after the 2008 presidential elections.  CACG said the newspaper won because of its "independent news presentation and analysis, effective monitoring and supervision of electoral activities before, during and after the 2008 elections towards ensuring free, fair, and transparent elections."

  • Feb 112009

    Following the Election in Ghana: Media Gearing Up to Write About New Administration

    A little over a month after Ghana inaugurated it's new president, John Evans Atta Mills, newspapers are gearing up to write about the new administration's proposed budget and are being aggressive at writing about the vetting of the ministers (Minister of Finance, for example) being recommended by the Mills' administration.

    Ghanaians, and indeed neighboring countries, are still praising the success of the country's election process.

    Ghana's reporters were diligent in reporting on the candidates -- their personalities, rallies and alliances -- but did a less stellar job in