Before the liberalization of the airwaves and the launching of the Internet in Ghana, newspapers had maintained their dominant role in providing news and setting the media and public agendas for debate. This seems to be changing, given the speed with which radio disseminates news and the seemingly uncontrollable nature of the Internet.
The print sector is becoming less popular in the country. This is also because newspapers are relatively expensive, amounting to around 2.5 GHC / 0.5 USD per issue. Spending a meal’s worth sum on a paper is hardly affordable for urban working people and rural farmers. While the daily reach of print is still at 20.5% - as every newspapers goes through the hands of several people - only 1.5% of the population considers newspapers as the most important source for information . It is the least popular news source after radio, TV, digital media, and even after personal contacts. The exceptions are government offices, diplomatic missions, and expatriate businesses, which subscribe to one or both state dailies.
State-funded press sustains in cost-intense print market
As of 2015, 135 newspapers were counted at the National Media Commission where newsrooms have to be recorded . This leads up to a penetration of 87% (2016). But as the price for newsprints has increased over 300 percent, it became extremely difficult for this huge numbers of private papers to be profitable and stay in business. As a result, the state-funded press sustains comfortably, a few private papers with loyal readership struggle to stay, while the vast majority of private papers come and go.
Maximum concentration in the print sector
This is a reason why the print market shows almost a maximum concentration. The Top 4 companies - state-owned Graphic Communications Group Limited, state-owned New Times Corporation, Western Publication Limited, and The Business and Financial Times Limited (B&FT) – together get 95.87% of the readership. Especially concerning is the fact that there is a high concentration even only looking at the two state-owned companies, which get over two third (72.11%) of the readership, with the Graphic Communications Group Limited publishing a number of news and entertainment papers. Western Publications Limited (Daily Guide, News One) is privately-owned. However, its majority shareholder is Frederick Blay, who is active Chairman of the ruling New Patriotic Party government. The B&FT is run by Edith Dankwa, who is a group publisher for several pan-African magazines and CEO of B&FT Limited.
Pressrefernce ( n.d.). Profile Ghana. Accessed 17 July 2017.
Mawuli Tsikata (2016). Where Ghanaians turn to for information. Accessed 17 July 2017.