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Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Rhetoric, Theory and Culture (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Humanities

Advisor 1

Sue Collins

Committee Member 1

Ramon Fonkoue

Committee Member 2

Oren Abeles


Ghana’s checkered political history since independence has impacted journalist-politician relationships which affected news media’s role and journalistic practices. Like most African countries, nascent media in Ghana have largely functioned as the mouthpiece of the government or have opposed the government. This government-media collaboration and/or adversarialism is a product of media ownership systems and journalist-politician relationships/interactions. Consequently, the media in Ghana either function as a lapdog (provide support for the government) or watchdog (subject government to media surveillance and demand for accountability on behalf of the citizens). However, unfolding events about the rise of illegal mining popularly known as galamsey in Ghana and the media’s response have necessitated a reflection and reconceptualization of the news media’s role. The formation of the Media Coalition Against Galamsey, to lead the fight against illegal mining, comes at a time when illegal mining is rampant, at its peak and incurs devastating environmental effects of national interest.

Using political economy as a framework, this thesis examines media-politician relationships and media ownership systems to reflect on Ghanaian media’s role since their establishment to determine how they have evolved over time and determine how the media conceptualize their role. This thesis examines the role of the news media in Ghana through the Media Coalition Against Galamsey’s anti-galamsey campaign. It finds that, media participation in the political process began with the struggle for independence; however, recognition of its mandate as a fourth estate enshrined in the 1992 constitution has been lacking. Thus, through advocacy, the media instrumentalizes galamsey to assert this mandate and seek legitimacy. They also actively negotiating to participate and be included in decision making processes.