Negative political advertising and the imperative of broadcast regulation in Ghana | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 5, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2040-199X
  • E-ISSN: 1751-7974



While the effects of negative election campaigns is a well-researched topic in mature democracies, it remains largely unexplored in transitional and nascent democracies such as those in Africa. This article addresses concerns that an insidious culture of intolerance, hate and insults in Ghanaian politics and electoral contests could undermine the efficacy of the country’s neo-democracy. The article draws on pre-election interviews with the two main contenders in Ghana’s 2012 elections to sound out their positions on the propriety and prudence of expressing a negative campaign platform. The interview responses are analysed in the context of past ads run by their parties, which reveal that the candidates’ disclaimers and public professions to run issue-oriented campaigns contradicted the practice of their party’s resort to negative campaigns. The article concludes that candidates and their parties are unlikely to abide by ethical injunctions and accordingly proposes the passage of a legal code to regulate broadcasting (including political advertising) in Ghana.


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