Friday, October 28, 2016

Report Shows How Ghana's Politicians Are Using Social Media Ahead of Elections

The cover page of the Governance Social Media Index.

Penplusbytes has released the second edition of the Governance Social Media Index (GSMI) report, which assesses and ranks the presence of political parties, political party leaders and key election management bodies in Ghana on social media based on their followers and level of engagement on Facebook and Twitter.

Generally, the report shows that political actors in Ghana have increased their use of social media ahead of the 2016 general elections.

The flurry of politically minded social media activity hadn't gone unnoticed, even before Penplusbytes's report. Ghana's Inspector General of Police John Kudalor hinted in May 2016 that Ghanaian authorities might consider shutting down social media platforms during the December 7 elections to "maintain peace".

Following a public debate among major stakeholders after his statement, Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama declared on August 14 that "the government has no intention to shut down social media on election day."

Penplusbytes is a non-profit organisation promoting effective governance using technology in Africa. The organisation aims at driving change through innovations in three key areas: using new digital technologies to enable good governance and accountability, new media and innovations, and driving oversight for effective utilisation of mining, oil and gas revenue and resources.

The Governance Social Media Index tracks the relevance and effective use of social media in governance. The first index report was published in June 2016.

The second edition of the GSMI was compiled on September 30 after the disqualification of 13 presidential candidates from the 2016 general elections by the Electoral Commission of Ghana. These candidates were included in the report because they were part of the first GSMI.

The report shows that President Mahama is ahead of other presidential candidates on Facebook with 1,007,595 likes — 125,171 more than his June figure of 880,620. Nana Akufo-Addo, the leader of the largest opposition party, New Patriotic Party, comes in at 981,057 likes on Facebook, which represents an increase of 265,341.

When it comes to Twitter, the report shows that Akufo Addo has taken better advantage of the platform to communicate and interact with his followers, as evidenced in his over 4,000 tweets as compared with President Mahama's 842 tweets.

In terms of political parties, the New Patriotic Party continues to lead with a whopping 307,963 likes on Facebook. Then comes the Progressive People's Party with 33,193 followers, which beats out the ruling National Democratic Congress, who have 24,743 likes on Facebook.

Early this year, Penblusbytes released its first Social Media Index (SMI) report on Ghana's print, radio and television media houses.

 Download the full Governance Social Media Index here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Regional training course for African journalists opens in Tanzania on Extractives

A 14-day media training course on governance of oil, gas and mining has opened in Dar res Salaam, capital of Tanzania in the Eastern part of Africa.

Sponsored by the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), a Non Governmental Organisation, the training is being organized by the Journalist Environmental Association of Tanzania (JET) in partnership with Penplusbytes  Ghana and the African Center for Media Excellence in Uganda.

Being attended by 24 selected participants – eight each from Tanzania, Uganda and Ghana, the course is aimed at building the capacity of the reporters to enable them tell the true story in the extractive industry particularly oil, gas and mining and get themselves abreast with trending and contemporary situation in the sector.

Mr George Lugalambi, the Media Capacity Development Officer of the NRGI, said the course also offers opportunity for participants to establish relationships and share ideas and divergent views in the extractive sector.

He said although the extractive industry is broad, the NRGI focused on oil, gas and mining and in collaboration with her partners had offered opportunities for reporters and news editors to know more in the industry.

Mr Nicholas Phythan, a renowned International Journalist and a facilitator at the course, asked the participants to reflect on what they do as reporters and learn more in the industry.

Kwami Ahiabenu II, the Executive Director of Penplusbytes, expressed the optimism that mutual relationship would be established among participants and further strengthened after the course for the benefit of the participating countries.

Abednego Akwasi Asante Asiedu, a Ghanaian Broadcast Journalist working with Adom FM, said he is optimistic the course would enlighten and empower him to report accurately in the extractive sector.

"I hope the 14-day training course will enhance my capacity in the extractive industry", Mr Ebenezer Agyekum-Boateng, another broadcast Journalist and a producer at TV3, a Ghana-based television station said.

Daniel Amule, a reporter at the Pacis FM, a faith-based radio station in Uganda, commended the organisers for such an opportunity and advised his colleagues to take advantage of the course, explore and learn more.

Other Ghanaian reporters were selected from Viasat One TV, Business and Financial Times Newspaper, Ghana News Agency, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), Deutsche Welle and Daily Guide Newspaper.

Source: GNA