Three years after Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ documentary on corruption in the in the judiciary, 38 percent of Ghanaians have rated almost all judges and magistrates to be corrupt, second behind the Police Service in the latest corruption perception survey.
A total number of 1,200 representing 50 percent of respondents sampled across the country also hold the view that some judges and magistrates are still corrupt whereas just four percent said none are corrupt.
This was contained in the recent survey conducted by Afrobarometer on its Corruption Perception Index. Afrobarometer is a pan-African, non-partisan research network that conducts public attitude survey on democracy, governance, economic conditions and related issues in African counties.
The Police Service firmly consolidated their place on the chart with 59 percent respondents, representing a total number of 1,416, believing that most or all members in the service were corrupt. A total of 33 percent of people sampled held the view that some members in the service were corrupt whiles just three percent respondents said the police were “saints”.
Media practitioners, both those working in the private media and those in the state-owned media placed last on the corruption perception chart with only 17 percent of respondents who holding the view that most or all members were corrupt although 60 percent of people sampled said some of members in the media were involved in corrupt activities.
Corruption, or at least the perception of its occurrence is a major consideration for private investors, especially foreign direct investors and indeed, several foreign diplomats stationed in Ghana have claimed in the past that it works against efforts to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
Perceptions of corruption in the judiciary and the police are of particular importance because they can negate one of Ghana’s main advantages in the eyes of foreign investors – adherence to the rule of law.
Sequentially, the chart included Members of Parliament, government appointees and the presidency.
Afrobarometer has conducted 6 rounds of surveys during the period between 1999 and 2015 whereas round seven of the survey, which is the latest one, was carried out over the period 2016-2018.
The objective of the surveys is to “give the public a voice in policy making by providing high-quality public opinion data to policy makers, policy advocates, civil society organisations, academics, news media, donors and investors”
Survey details / demographics
The Afrobarometer team in Ghana for the latest survey was led by the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana). The duration of the survey spanned between September 9th and 25th 2017. The sample size for the survey was 2,400 respondents, with three percent margin of error and 98 percent confidence level.
Respondents were chosen randomly from the 10 regions of the country. The selection of respondents was equally spread in terms of gender balance as both male and female respondents were capped at 50 percent. This was to ensure balance and equity in the selection process.
Regarding the level of education of respondents, a total of 381.6, representing 15.9 percent had no level of education, 633.6 respondents representing 26.4 percent have primary education whiles 43.5 percent and 13.9 respondents have had secondary and post-secondary education respectively.
A total of 864 respondents, representing 36 percent support media freedom as against a majority of 57 percent that is 1,368 respondents say government must prevent publication of information it deems harmful to society.
This figure represents a sharp drop for media freedom support, from 55 percent in 2005 to 36 percent in 2017. According to the survey, urban and rural residents hold almost identical views on media freedom, as do different age groups.
Out of 21 countries Afrobarometer sampled views of respondents for the survey, Ghana placed in 18th position, scoring 36 percent in terms of public support for media freedom. Madagascar placed first with 70 percent, Malawi placed second with 67 percent while conversely, Senegal wallowed in the last position with 18 percent.
However, on the World Press Freedom Index, Madagascar and Malawi are ranked 54th and 64th positions respectively. Ghana is 23rd on the chart but instructively, ranks 1st in Africa.
Speaking during a stakeholder forum in support of media freedom, the Executive Director for CDD-Ghana, Prof. Kwesi Prempeh attributed the sharp drop to media behaviour and public frustration of media content. He noted the possibilities that have been explored are pointing towards the doorstep of the media.
“We have explored many possibilities. The media is not free of blame in this space. There is something about media behaviour that is causing this. The media has awesome powers and may be abusing it sometimes. Some are also frustrated of what appears to be partisan capture of media space”, he said.
Dean of the School of Information and Communications Studies of the University of Ghana, Legon Prof. Audrey Gadzekpo mentioned that the sharp dip should be very worrying to media practitioners and it was important having discussions on how to restore public trust in the media.
By Dundas Whigham