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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health

Building capacity for a tobacco-free world

July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA

Friday, July 14, 2006 - 12:00 PM

Tobacco in the News: an Analysis of Newspaper Coverage of Tobacco Issues in Ghana, 2005

Kofi Wellington, Mr, Academic, Ghana Institute of Journalism, Gamel Abdul Nassar Road, Accra, AR, Ghana

Objective: The overall aim was to examine the coverage of tobacco issues in selected newspapers in order to inform advocacy efforts. Specifically we looked at the frequency of items published, type of coverage news stories, features, editorial, prominence, subject matter and source of items.

Methods: This is a content analysis study of four newspapers in their coverage of tobacco issues in Ghana. The dailies are Graphic and the Ghanaian Times while the weeklies are the Mirror and the Spectator. These papers are state owned and based in Accra, the national commercial and mass media capital of Ghana. These papers are most influential and have nation wide circulation. All issues from January to December 2005 were analysed.

Results: In the period covered by the study, the sample provided slight /little coverage of tobacco issues. The most frequent topics included general smoking ban and health effects of smoking. Very few items could be found on the front pages of the papers. Most of the items were news reports, with a few articles written by columnists or experts. However, there was not a single editorial in any of the papers. Coverage remained largely positive for tobacco objectives, both in terms of the events reported on and the opinions expressed in news reports, and features/columns.

Conclusion: To promote improved newspaper coverage will require developing Journalists skills in writing on tobacco issues and making their job easier through workshops and improved media relations efforts.