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Tuesday, October 1 • 10:00am - 10:30am
From a ‘Culture of Silence’ to a free press: What oral histories tell us about self-censorship, ethics, and journalism in Ghana

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Graduate students from the University of Ghana’s Department of Communication Studies are working on a project to record the oral histories of journalists who were present and working during the transition in Ghana to a democratic republic in 1992. Prior to that, from 1982 to 1992, the media operated under a military regime whose threats created a “culture of silence.” To be an honest journalist was dangerous because of the newspaper licensing law, which discouraged the establishment of private media and press freedom. The 1992 Constitution ended more than a decade of military dictatorship promulgating greater media freedom. And in July 2001, parliament unanimously repealed The Criminal Libel Law. The Media Foundation for West Africa said the law was “inimical” to freedom of the press.
Twenty-nine oral histories are currently part of the university’s Institute of African Studies, J.H. Kwabena Nketia Archives. Students from the 2019 graduate class are currently working on additional oral histories and the plan is to continue this project for many years, not only compiling oral histories from journalists who worked during the transition to a free press but expanding the collection to trace the evolution of journalism in Ghana until the present day. An archived oral history may also serve to remind the public that if journalists take advantage of their freedoms to push specific policies and political agendas, a country can fall into chaos and civil war. The 1994 massacre in Rwanda is a prime example of using radio to incite genocide.

avatar for Ivy Fofie

Ivy Fofie

Assistant Lecturer, University of Ghana
Ivy M. Fofie is an Assistant Lecturer at the Department of Communication Studies, University of Ghana. He expertise is in Journalism, gender and communication and media ethics and law. She is currently a trainer for DW Akademie on Media and Information Literacy on a need to basis... Read More →
avatar for Alice Daniel

Alice Daniel

News Director, KVPR Valley Public Radio
Alice Daniel taught in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Ghana as a U.S. Fulbright Scholar in 2017-18. As a lecturer at California State University, Fresno, she helped start the Central Valley War Veterans Oral History Project. That project inspired her... Read More →

Tuesday October 1, 2019 10:00am - 10:30am BST
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