This study investigates the incidence of ethical violations in the Ghanaian press which has become topical in the wake of misinformation in a charged political atmosphere. Public interest institutions have questioned the unprofessional conduct of journalists covering election campaigns in recent years. This study content analysed political stories from two leading Ghanaian newspapers (Daily Graphic and Daily Guide) to determine the nature and extent of ethical violations, and to examine the level of prominence accorded to political news stories by the two dailies.
This paper relied on qualitative content analysis for data gathering and analysis. A total of 387 political news items published between 1 October and 30 November 2020, were analysed.
This study found infractions of various nature to Article 1 of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) codes of ethics, chief among which is the deliberate publications of news stories without cross-checking facts. Other infractions to Articles 17, 11, 6 and 5 of the GJA codes of ethics were observed. Political news coverage favours the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) than any other parties, with the two parties (NPP-NDC) given greater prominence and salience by the Ghanaian press.
The research makes a modest contribution to the growing concern of journalism ethics in an increasing ecology of fake news