Media Globalization and Localization: An Analysis of the International Flow of Programs on Ghana Television (GTV)
Kekeli K. Nuviadenu*
- *Corresponding Author:
- Kekeli K. Nuviadenu
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This study examined the international flow of programs on Ghana Television (GTV) and some other television stations in Ghana namely, TV3, Metro TV, and Crystal TV, during the period of 1969 and 2003. Television in Ghana has transitioned from the role of development to that of reflecting the global and local phenomena. The qualitative content analysis approach was employed to analyze the contents of television program guides and the results were related to the issues of development, dependency, globalization, and localization. The findings showed more local than global programs on GTV during the period under study. Most of the global programs in the categories of news, sports, sit-com, soap/drama, and action/adventure, were from the USA though others came from Europe , Asia , and other African nations. In contrast, there were more global than local programs on TV3, Metro TV, and Crystal TV. Globalization has a wide scope with dimensions of economics, politics, culture, and communication including the media in developing nations like Ghana . Hence, foreign culture in local traditional setting has been resisted, though some compromises have been made. The quest to maintain national identity through media policies coupled with the selection of specific foreign programs, in the face of globalization, yield complex interactions. Despite the vast areas and details covered in this media research, and benefits to the television industry, there are limitations of the lack of audience response to the programs on GTV and the other television stations in Ghana .
The process of globalization transcends many boundaries, of which the area of communication cannot be omitted. Much of the globalization issues are related to the economic and political transfer of ideas and systems from developed to the developing nations. However, according to Tehranian (1999), without global communication, there could not be a global marketplace. Thus, communication, including the media, is crucial to the process of globalization in every aspect of its interaction with diverse societies of the world. This study analyzes how media globalization and localization relate to the international flow of programs on Ghana Television (GTV).
Globalization and Localization in Communication
The current forces of globalization are producing unprecedented levels of human interdependence in the world community. Although television is not the only purveyor of global culture, it has economic and cultural significance in the rise of transnational media. The importance of television to the Ghanaian society ranges from its role of development to that of reflecting the global and local phenomena.
Meanwhile, in the area of communication, difficulty exists in providing a comprehensive definition of the phenomenon of globalization. The complexity of this concept has led to debate and research aimed at determining and explaining what it entails. There is a close relationship between globalization and localization which may be explained as the reaction by local society to globalization.
According to Featherstone, Lash & Robertson (1995), globalization in the broadest sense increasingly involves the creation and incorporation of local processes, which largely shape the compression of the whole world. Although the concept of globalization remains important, it might be preferable to replace it for certain purposes with the concept of glocalization, due to the advantage of making the concern with space as important as the focus upon temporal issues. By such a definition, the response by local communities to globalization is vital in explaining the complex interactions. Traditional ways of a society cannot be ignored in the face of globalization.
The interplay of the global and the local is necessary to find an appropriate meaning of these concepts. In the world today, traditional societies have either resisted or embraced globalization. Thus, in the area of broadcasting, there are many debates on policies, concerning resisting television content, based on culture of the source of the program and that of the recipient.
It has been argued that it is important to become aware of the nuances of the process of globalization and seek to develop theories which are sensitive to the different power potentials of the different players participating in the various global struggles. Thus, the range and multiplicity of responses to modernity means that, it may be preferable to refer to global modernities (Featherstone, Lash & Robertson, 1995).
The interaction of global and local programs on Ghana Television is problematic of which this study seeks to examine and explain the existing complexities. This is an important issue that needs to be addressed because it provides a unique context of the effects of globalization in a developing nation. It is obvious there is lack of research in this particular environment and therefore this research provides relevant information to the television industry as well as international communication scholars. Indeed, this research not only seeks to explore pertinent past and current issues but also identify communication concepts for further academic inquiry in the future. Hence media policies and audience research are some of the areas that need scholarly work.
There are two main research questions that this study seeks to answer on the global and local aspects of television programming in Ghana. They are:
1. To what extent does Ghana Television (GTV) represent global and local programming from 1969 to 2003?
2. What specific programs from other cultures and nations of Africa, Europe, USA, and the international world are represented on Ghana Television (GTV)?
The research approach in this study is the qualitative content analysis method. Television program guides and government documents were examined to show programming trends and existing media policies, respectively. According to Potter (1996), such an analysis is appropriate in dealing with issues like the formal qualities of television programs and their flow, and important in investigating patterns and trends from the past. Qualitative content analysis emphasizes the capturing of definitions, meanings, processes, types, and relies largely on text, narratives, and descriptions (Altheide, 1996).
Employing a content analysis methodology to study the international flow of programs on Ghana Television entailed a count of the global and local programs to show trends through numbers and ratios. Also, the interplay of development, dependency, media imperialism, globalization, and localization, in a particular television station, GTV, within a nation is a unique situation worth qualitative analysis.
Significance of Television in Globalization and Localization
Television forms a major role in the human construction of reality in society. The significance of this study can be inferred from its consideration of media as cultural capital in the current era of globalization. Hence, this study on Ghana Television (GTV) programs provides unique and diverse cultures as related to the globalization and localization. It examines how globalization impacts local culture and how cultural hybridity is created through globalization.
The study of international flow of television programs can be identified with Varis’ (1984) research of 69 countries, which found that changes in the pattern of program flow indicate a trend toward greater regional exchanges along with the continued dominance of a few exporting countries. An aspect of this study examines the international flow of programs on GTV over the period of 1969 to 2003 to determine the trends in ratio and cultural capital.
There is also the study of international news flow by Sreberny-Mohammad (1984), which surveyed the news coverage by press, radio, and television in 29 countries, based on a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and International Association of Mass Communication Research (IAMCR) sponsored project. In this study, news is one of the nineteen categories on GTV examined to show trends in proportion.
Preston and Kerr (2001) explored how the era of increased globalization with respect to investment, trade, and flows of certain goods and services, nation-states and cultural factors still play a crucial and changing role in relation to the development of content for new multimedia platforms. Accordingly, it is necessary to analyze how the global march of technology applies to the field of multimedia content application.
There is an assertion that international and national news agencies contribute to the simultaneous processes of globalization and localization. Nonetheless, the national news agencies tend not to excite much scholarly or popular attention as the international or global news agencies. Consequently, the flow of international news rather than national news tends to be popular subject to research (Boyd-Barret, 2000).
The significant role of television in a developing nation is pointed out in studies that show a link between television entertainment and economic growth, as well as in the way achieving relaxation and rest from viewing television, are integral parts of human productivity. Hence, television viewing leads to diversion, which keeps people away from problems of government and politics. There is also the integrative role, where national leaders consider explicit media messages through cultural interaction. Here, while some values and behaviors are reinforced, others are denounced. Yet another role of television is the unplanned effect of accelerating electrification in rural areas when peasants have the purchasing power to own television (Lee, 1994).
According to Barker (2000), television is available to almost everybody in modern industrialized societies, and it is a site of popular knowledge about the world, which brings us into contact with ways of life other than the one into which we are born.
Thompson (1995) argues that:
We must not lose sight of the fact that, in a world increasingly permeated by the products of the media industries, a major new arena has been created for the process of self-fashioning. It is an arena, which is served from the spatial and temporal constraints of face-to-face interaction and, given the accessibility of television and its global expansion, is increasingly available to individual’s world-wide. (p. 43)
By the assertion above, television plays a significant role in the human society. Another view that affirms the integrative role of television in human interaction is implied by Hall (1997) who says that television provides a setting for “the provision and the selective construction of social knowledge, of social imagery, through which we perceive the worlds, the lived realities of others, and imaginary reconstruct their lives and ours into some intelligible world-of-the-whole” ( p.140).
There is clearly much research on the media in nations like India, China, Australia, and Egypt in North Africa. Despite an abundance of scholarly research on the media in the developing world, including Africa, there is little research on mass communication in Ghana. Meanwhile, it is noted that, the cultural foundations of the African peoples upon which the media were overlaid in Sub-Saharan Africa is a complex issue. The people who built these media institutions learned how monumental the task of forging national consciousness and national identity among disparate groups of peoples is. Both expatriate civil servants and their successors, along with the African elites, contributed to the creation of today’s national identity within the region. In addition, the political and social forces have shaped these media in the past few decades (Bourgault, 1995).
In the interim, the identities of television viewers around the world are becoming more multilayered with elements that are local, regional, national, global and are increasingly being based on transnational groups held together by language and cultural specifics like ethnic types and values. Individual audience level, competence, ability to speak or at least understand the language of a broadcast is an important ingredient in audiences’ selection of a program and their enjoyment (Straubhaar, Duarte, Kahl, Veii, & Goodman, 1997).
Television programming and audience research have provided challenges of interest to scholars researching what information globalization presents to Africa. These have become essential to the fast developing processes of complex interactions between societies, cultures, institutions, and individuals. It is understandable because television remains the most engaging mass medium in most regions of the world including Africa (Okigbo & Amienya, 2003).
In December 2000, a conference organized in Australia titled: “Television: Past, Present and Futures” brought together Australian and international scholars to address a range of issues facing the television industry. Studies included the writing of television’s histories, television’s changing social and cultural function within nation-states and regional markets, and the challenges posed by new technologies. Some of the themes tackled were television and the nation, globalization and the local, television and history, and television and new media. During the conference, it became obvious that there were differences in the contemporary experience of television across national boundaries and geographic regions. Arguments, for example, concerning globalization from within Europe were different to those from India and China. The effect of globalization on local production was found to be different, depending on geographic or political location. Also, the attitude to the social and political function of state funded broadcasting systems differed significantly between situations in the Asia-Pacific, Europe, and North America. Consequently, there was a variety of perspectives that was offered to the problem of the global, the local, and television at this conference (Turner, 2004).
Due to the fact that the conference lacked African perspective, let alone Ghanaian, this study seeks to deal with an aspect of globalization which is the international flow of programs on television in Ghana. Ultimately, the study provides unique perspectives to global media research, as well as the television industry including organizations who want to explore the developing media marketplace. Consequently, it is imperative to provide a background overview of Ghana which entails brief information on the economic, social, and political environment.
Overview of Ghana
Located in West Africa, Ghana occupies an area of about 92,100 square miles, approximately the size of Oregon or Wyoming in the United States of America. There are 92 ethnic groups, 34 languages, and English is the official language. The economy is predominantly agricultural. There is no state religion, and so people are free to follow their religious beliefs. Ghana became independent on March 6, 1957, after more than 100 years of British colonial rule.
Politically, Ghana seems to have a stable government, currently with a president from the opposition party who won in democratic elections held in 2000 and 2004. Coupled with a smooth transition, these political events are unique in the history of the nation, due to the previously rampant coup d’etat encountered in Ghana.
Television service was launched in Ghana on July 31, 1965, with a goal to reflect and promote the highest national and social ideals of the society of Ghana. Thus, development was crucial to television in Ghana having education as the paramount in the type of programs shown ( Asante, 1996).
Indeed, Ghana Television (GTV) is the only station in the country that reaches the whole spectrum of the nation. The smaller television stations with less reach are TV3, Metro TV, and Crystal TV. GTV is a government-owned and government-operated media that has several programs for the viewing audience. Programs on GTV vary in genres like sports, music, drama, and movies. The source of programs are from nations like the U.S.A., U.K., France, Germany, Italy, and other African nations like Nigeria, Togo, and Cote d’Ivoire.
Meanwhile, there are unique challenges in selecting programs suitable for the many ethnic groups and varied social class structures, educational background, and ethnicity of the people. Globalization, therefore, poses unique challenges worth scholarly exploration.
Public broadcasting is situated with respect to the global framework of media democratization. By this assertion, public broadcasting is related to media pluralism and globalization. According to Raboy (1998), public broadcasting also operates in the multi-channel environment and multilateral politics. The aspect of this opinion which relates to this study is the link of television programming in Ghana to globalization.
Programming Trends on GTV, 1969-2003
GTV, a state-owned national television operated by the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), was selected for this study because it is the only station that reaches all the ten regions of Ghana. GTV is the name of the television station, previously known as Ghana Broadcasting Corporation Television (GBC-TV).
Having launched television service (GBC-TV), in 1965, Nkrumah, the first president of Ghana made a directive that, television should reflect and promote the highest national and social ideals of the Ghanaian ideology and society (Asante, 1996).
However, despite this initial mandate, research has shown diversity in Black African television broadcasting and the convergence toward increased dependence on commercial interests outside the continent. Also, the medium of television in sub-Saharan Africa tends to be an elite and an urban phenomenon not a medium of the people as Nkrumah had predicted (Bourgault, 1995).
Research Q1: To what extent does Ghana Television (GTV) represent global and local programming from 1969 to 2003?
Television broadcast in Ghana began on July 31, 1965, with the name Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC). In October 1965, GBC, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education in Ghana, began television educational broadcasting for secondary schools, training colleges and technical schools. The content of the programs was predominantly academic and covered subject areas of: Science for secondary schools and training colleges, Teaching Methods for training colleges, Our World-Geography program for secondary school and training colleges; and Auto Mechanics for technical institutes (Arita, 1984.
By October 1969, educational television on GBC expanded to primary and middle schools. Each school had only one of the 220 television receivers donated by the Friedrich-Ebert Foundation of West Germany. During this era, all the four locally produced and directed television programs aired between Monday and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon. Details of the lists of programs and scheduled time provided show the types of programs at the beginning of television broadcast in Ghana. This provided an appropriate way of determining the trend of programming of the years that follow till 2003 (Arita, 1984).
Table 1 shows that all the programs are educational, covering subject areas of general science, geography, history, English literature, mathematics, and teaching methods. All the 20 programs shown during the week were in the English language, but they were locally produced and directed in partnership with teachers from the Ministry of Education in Ghana (Arita, 1984).
Table 1: HPLC chromatogram of the nine reference compound s in 50% aqueous methanolrespectively.
The content or message of these programs may be identified with the concepts of the media as a tool for development. Education is a crucial element for modernization or development in less developing nation. To have all the weekly programs on television for formal education showed an emphasis on development. By 1984, there was an increase in the number of days and hours for transmission as well as the number of programs. At that time, 57 programs were telecast on television between Monday and Sunday from 5:45 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., of which only four were imported from other nations.
In Table 2, there are details of the programs that were shown in 1984, including the various categories and time. The imported programs from other nations are in bold letters to differentiate from the locally produced and directed programs (Arita, 1984). Despite the fact that most of the programs were in English, six were in five of the native languages of Ghana namely, Akan, Hausa, Dagbani, Ga, and Ewe, in the type of adult education and drama. Generally, there are varied program categories of education, news, sports, music, drama, talk show, and movie (Arita, 1984).
There were 124 programs weekly on GTV in 1996, of which 37 were imported from other nations. Daily transmission took 19 hours, starting from 6:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. About 117 programs were in English, while seven were in the local languages. Missing Link was a program in the sign language. The diverse program categories were made up of education, news, sports, music, drama, talk show, sitcom, advertisements, and movies (Mills, 1996).
Table 3: GBC-TV, Weekdays, 1992
Table 4: GBC-TV, Weekends, 1992
Weekly television programming during September and October of 1997 indicated a total of 187 programs, of which 62 were imported from other nations, while 125 were locally produced and directed. Transmission began at 4:55 am during the week and 5:00 am on weekends, and ended at 1:00 a.m. daily. About 180 of the programs were in the English language, having seven in local languages and one in sign language. Program categories identified included education, news, sports, music, drama, talk show, sitcom, advertisements, and movies (Mills, Nelson, & Asmah, 1997b).
In December of 2000, approximately 187 programs were telecast weekly on Ghana Television (GTV) from 5:00 am to 1:00 am. About 107 of the programs were locally produced and 80 were from other nations. About as many as 180 of the programs were in English, while seven were in some of the native languages. The categories included education, news, sports, music, drama, talk show, sitcom, advertisements, and movies (Sackey, 2000h).
GTV program listing for July 2001 indicated around 202 total programs, with about 94 programs from abroad, and 108 locally made. Just about seven programs are in some of the native languages, while roughly 195 were in English. The programs were made up of education, news, sports, music, drama, talk show, sitcom, advertisements, and movies (Addy, 2001f).
By November 2003, there were about 206 programs shown daily between 5:00 am to 1:00 am, and about 140 hours per week. Though there was an increase of about 16 programs in some of the native languages of Ghana, as many as 190 programs were in English. While about 86 programs were from other nations, 120 were locally produced and directed. The programs varied in the groups of education, news, sports, music, drama, talk show, sitcom, advertisements, and movies (Sackey, 2003).
Programming Trends on GTV, 1969-2003
Figure 1 is a general representation of the weekly local and global programs over the period between 1969 and 2003 on Ghana Television (GTV). It shows that, there were more local programs on GTV than programs from other nations. For example, in 1969 all the 20 programs (100%) shown during the week were locally produced. About 93% of the programs (53) in 1984 were local, while 7% (4) were made from other nations. While 11% of the programs (12) in 1992 were made from other nations, 89% (97) were local. By June 1996, there were 87 local programs (70%) but 37 programs (30%) were from other nations. In September 1997, there were 125 (67%) local programs and about 62 programs (33%) from abroad. 43% of the programs were local, despite the fact that 57% were from other nations, in December 2000. In fact, 53% of programs (107) in July 2001 were local, though 47% (95) were made abroad. In November 2003, about 120 programs (58%) were locally made and about 86 (42%) were from other nations. Thus, while both the local and those from other nations had increased, there always was more of the former than the latter.
From the above findings, it is clear that there was an increase in both the local and global program, as well as the hours of transmission during the period considered. Figure 1 shows an increase in weekly transmission hours from about 12 hours to 140, and local programs had increased from 20 to 120, and programs from other nations had risen from 0 to 86 during the period from 1969 to 2003.
Research Q2: What specific programs from other cultures and nations of Africa, Europe, USA, and the international world are represented on Ghana Television (GTV)?
The regional composition of the programs from other nations was dealt with in the question above. Based on standards employed in previous research by Varis (1984) and current standards of the USA (“Dmoz open directory project,” 1998) and Canada (“Television program categories,” 2002), about 19 program categories were identified on GTV between 1969 and 2003. These types were education, sports, health, news music, announcements, promotionals/advertisements, drama/soap, game show, talk show,action/adventure, women, youth, children, religion, sit-com, documentary, cartoon, and other. At some point in the period under study, there were programs from the United States of America (USA), Europe, Asia, and other African nations.
In Figure 2, details of the proportions of global programs are given to show the trend of the origin or source of programs on GTV. Most of the global programs came from the USA, followed by Europe then, other nations of Africa, Latin America, and finally Asia.
Global Programming Trends on GTV, 1969-2003
During the period under consideration, several of the programs from other nations were in the categories of news, sports, music, drama/soap, action/adventure, sit-com, cartoon, documentary, and religion. In 1984, the four programs from other nations namely, Human Body: New and Why?, Program Exchange, Saturday Soccer, and Movie, were of health, drama/soap, sports, and action/adventure respectively. The origins of the programs were two from USA, one from Europe, and one from another nation of Africa. By 1992, there were three sports programs namely English Soccer, Football made in Germany, and Meridian Motor Sport, from the United Kingdom, Germany, and USA respectively. There was one news program Global Report which was coverage of events from other nations. URTNA Screen was a program from the Union for Radio and Television Networks for Africa in various categories.
The rest of the international programs namely, Matlock, Different Strokes, Cosby Show, Feature Film, Documentary, Sunday Movie, and Captain Planet were from the USA. Some details of the global and local components of the programs, and the 19 categories employed are shown in Table 6 which indicates the number of local and global programs on GTV during the eight years selected between 1969 and 2003.
Each year has a representation of ‘L’ as local and ‘G’ as global, in the 19 types of programs employed. For an example, in 1969, there were no global programs, because all the 20 programs were locally produced and in the category of education. By 1984, local programs were in the categories of sports, news, music, announcements, promotionals/ advertisements, drama/soap, game show, talk show, women, and youth. The global programs were primarily in the categories of sports, health, drama/soap, and action/adventure in Table 5.
There were additional types of local programs in 1992 namely, children and religion, while global programs had sit-com, documentary, and cartoon added. Most of the global programs on GTV, in June 1996, were in the news category, though there were sports, drama/soap, talk show, action/adventure, sitcom, and cartoon.
Table 5: GTV program categories, 1969-2003
In fact, news programs were the most global programs in the periods of September 1997, December 2000, July 2001, and November 2003. Actually, there was even more global news than local news during the said periods. Thus, in July 2001, there were 21 local news programs, while there were more than twice as many, 48 global news programs.
In June 1996, there was only one talk show, Oprah Winfrey; sitcoms Cosby Show, and Neighbors; cartoons Tom & Jerry, and Aladdin; action/adventure Movie; and drama/soap Matlock, and Touched by an Angel, were all from the USA. There was one drama/soap program from Asia called Oshin. In the sports category, there were Football made in Germany, Italian Soccer, and European Soccer. The other sports programs were Davis Cup-Tennis and Legendary Fights from the USA, and the summary of European sports in Gillette Sports.
In September 1997, there were about 31 news programs of which 12 were Deutsche Welle from Europe, 18 were CNN from the USA, and the news coverage from other nations Global Report. In sports, the programs Wrestling and NBA were from the USA, and there were European Soccer, Football Mundial,and Italian Soccer. In the category of cartoons, all the 9 programs were from the USA including Tom & Jerry, and Captain Planet. The Latin American program Isaura was telecast five times in a week, while Derrick from the USA was shown once, in the drama/soap group. The seven movies of action/adventure programs, two sitcoms namely Cosby Show and Sparks, the two programs of religion called This is the life and Hallelujah, and Oprah Winfrey were from the USA.
By December 2000, 47 news programs on Ghana Television were imported including 15 Deutsche Welle from Europe, 20 CNN, and five World Net from the USA, and six Channel O. There were 12 programs in the soap/drama category, including Bold and Beautiful, Generations, Derrick,Touched by an Angel, and Boabab. This is the Life was a religious program from the USA. All five Cartoons programs were from the USA. There were 12 documentaries including Transtel, Animal Kingdom, and African Journal; two action/adventure movies and one game show called International Raffle.
In July 2001, GTV telecast 48 news programs from other nations: 23 CNN, 12 Deutsche Welle, 10 World Net, and one Global Report. There were 20 programs of the category of drama/soap: five Days of our Lives, three Generations, five Passions, Derrick, Touched by an Angel. There were 10 documentaries: five Transtel, five Animal Kingdom, and five Cartoons. The five sit-coms were Damon-ABN, Cosby-ABN, One World-ABN, King of Queens-ABN, and Everybody Loves Raymond-ABN. The Classical Masterpieces was the only musical program from another nation. Also, African Movie was the only action adventure, while religion was This is the Life, game show International Raffle, and documentaries African Journal and S.T. Africa, during the week.
In November 2003, there were 23 Deutsche Welle and seven World Net, all news programs from abroad. There were 11 religious programs: Nine Eternal World TV, one World Miracle, and one This is the Life. The five sit-coms were The Parkers-ABN, Cosby-ABN, One on One-ABN, Tarina-ABN, and Becker-ABN. In the drama/soap category, there were two Days of our Lives, one Pleasure, five Passions, Totally Spies, Lady Cop, The Investigator, and Divorce Court.African Soccer and Telematch were of the sports category. In religion, there were A day of His Power and Myths/Marvels & Mysteries. There were the documentaries: two TBS, Animal Kingdom, African Journal, and S.T. Africa. The musical program was Classical Masterpieces.
Discussion and Conclusion
In response to the first question: To what extent does Ghana Television (GTV) represent global and local programming from 1969 to 2003? The findings indicate a larger proportion of local than global programs. In fact, all the weekly programs of the selected eight years showed more local than global programs. Thus, most of the programs are locally directed and produced. The cause of this situation relates to the culture of Ghanaians to preserve and maintain national identity through formal and informal measures, though questions arise as to whether this is due to government control or desire of the Ghanaian audiences.
Indeed, all the 20 (100%) programs aired in 1969 were educational and in English. Programs were in the form of distance education, where the station worked with teachers from the Ministry of Education in Ghana to teach subjects of secondary school and teacher training levels. It is appropriate to link these finding to the concepts of mass media as a tool for modernization and development prominent in the nature of programming on GTV. Mass media scholars like Lerner (1968) and Schramm (1956) are proponents of the ideas of the capability of employing mass media as a critical tool for modernization and development.
The issue of transmission of all the programs in English during 1969 is complex due to the fact that there are about thirty-six native languages in Ghana. As a former British colony, all Ghanaians are mandated to receive formal education in order to learn how to read and write in English. To some extent, this raises the issue of cultural imperialism that is, having a foreign language as the major and dominant means of communication on television in a country where about 34 native languages are spoken.
Having the Adult Education programs in five of the native languages namely “Akan, Hausa, Dagbani, Ga, and Ewe” by 1984 is an indication of a shift towards the use of local languages on television. Here, not only is the program geared towards development and modernization through education, but local systems of expression are adopted. Programs of the year under consideration take the genre of news, sports, music, talk show, drama, documentary, and education. However, there are no formal educational programs like the distance education type on television.
Although the findings also show a steady increase of global programs on GTV, it is certain that there have always been more local programs. The increase in both the local and global programs may be related to increase in the hours of transmission during the period considered. Thus, weekly transmission hours increased from about 12 hours to 140, and local programs increased from 20 to 120, and programs from other nations have risen from 0 to 86 over the period between 1969 and 2003.
Further details of the findings show that 93% (53) of the programs in 1984 were local, while 7% (4) were foreign. The large proportions of local programs support the argument of using the media in Ghana as tool for modernization and development. Though 11% (12) of the programs in 1992 were from abroad, 89% (97) were local. By June 1996, there were 87 local programs (70%) but 37 programs (30%) were from other nations. In September 1997, there were 125 (67%) local programs and about 62 programs (33%) were from abroad. 43% of the programs were local despite the fact that 57% were foreign, in December 2000. In fact, 53% of programs (107) in July 2001 were local though 47% (95) were made abroad. In November 2003, about 120 programs (58%) were locally made and about 86 (42%) were from other nations.
Thus, in general, while both the local programs and those from other nations have increased, there have always been more of the local programs than the global on GTV. The international flow of programs on GTV is important and therefore cannot be ignored with regard to the issues of globalization and localization. To some extent GTV represents both global and local programming in a complex way. Despite the fact that there are more local than global programs, the language of transmission on GTV is largely the international mode of expression in English.
The research findings relating to the question of specific regions of the sources and genre of global programs on GTV indicate varied cultural representation of the USA, Europe, Asia and other African nations, though all the programs from abroad are in the English language. During the period under investigation, several of the programs from other nations are in the categories of news, sports, music, drama/soap, action/adventure, sit-com, cartoon, documentary, and religion.
In 1984, the four programs from other nations namely Human Body: New and Why?, Program Exchange, Saturday Soccer, and Movie, were of health, drama/soap, sports, and action/adventure respectively. The origins of the programs were: two (50%) from USA, one (25%) from Europe, and one (25%) from other nation of Africa.
By 1992, there were 12 global programs, of which eight (66%) were from the USA, while two (22%) were from Europe, and two (22%) were from other African nations. The programs from the USA were of the types of sports, drama, action/adventure, sit-com, documentary, and cartoon. All the programs from Europe were sports, while the others from Africa were news, drama, and music.
Most of the programs from other nations on GTV in June 1996 were largely from the USA making up 31 (84%) of the total of 37. There were four (4%) of the programs from Europe, one (1%) from Asia, and one (1%) from other African nation. It must be noted that 13 (35%) of the programs from the USA were of news, while the rest were sports, talk show, sit-com, drama/soap, cartoon, and action/adventure. There is one drama/soap program from Asia called Oshin, while all the programs from Europe were sports.
During September 1997, there were 62 programs from other nations of which 41 (66%) were from the USA, 15 (24%) were from Europe, five (8%) were from Latin America, and one (2%) was from other African nation. 12 of the news programs were from Europe, while 18 were from the USA. The sports programs from the USA were of wrestling and professional basketball, while those from Europe were soccer. Other programs from the USA were cartoon, drama/soap group, action/adventure programs, sitcoms, religion and talk show. The only Latin American program was Isaura, in the soap/drama category.
By December 2000, about 81 programs on GTV were imported of which 47 (58%) were of news category, including 15 from Europe and 31 from the USA. There were 12 programs in the soap/drama category, of which 11 were from USA and one from Asia. There was a religious program from the USA, and five Cartoons programs were from the USA. There were 12 documentaries, including Transtel, Animal Kingdom, and African Journal; two action/adventure movies and one game show called International Raffle. Generally, 47 (58%) of all the foreign programs were from the USA.
A total of 95 programs were imported from other nations on GTV in July 2001, of which 64 (67%) were from the USA. In the news category, 33 were from the USA, 12 were from Europe, and one from Africa. 20 programs of the category of drama/soap were from the USA. The 10 documentaries were: five Transtel and five Animal Kingdom. The five Cartoons and the five sit-coms of Damon-ABN, Cosby-ABN, One World-ABN, King of Queens-ABN, Everybody Loves Raymond-ABN, were from the USA. The Classical Masterpieces was the only musical program from another nation. Also, African Movie was the only action adventure during the week. There was one religion program from the USA and one game show and also African Journal and S.T. Africa.
In November 2003, there were 87 programs from other nations on GTV of which 58 (66%) were from the USA. 23 news programs were from Europe and seven from the USA. All the nine religious programs and the five sit-coms were from the USA. The 12 soap/drama programs and two TBS were from the USA. The two religious programs were from the USA. Programs from other African nations were African Soccer,African Journal, and S.T. Africa. Other foreign programs were Telematch and Classical Masterpieces.
Generally, most of the programs from other nations on GTV were from the USA. During the years under consideration, about 60% of all programs from abroad came from the USA. There were also programs from Europe, Asia, and other African nations. Most of the foreign programs on GTV were in the news category and almost all the programs from Europe were sports and in fact soccer. Other genres from other nations were sit-com, soap/drama and action/adventure.
The majority of the sit-coms on GTV from the USA had characters largely of African Americans like those in Cosby, Different Strokes, and the Parkers. However, most of the soap/drama programs from abroad were largely Caucasian characters like those in Passion, Days of our Lives, Generations, and Bold and the Beautiful.
Despite the wide scope of globalization with dimensions of economics, politics, and culture, there is much evidence that there have been effects on the media in the setting of a developing nation like Ghana. The promotion of foreign culture in local traditional setting has been resisted, though some compromises have been made. Thus, the particular care in the selection of foreign programs, coupled with the quest to maintain national identity, in the face of globalization, yield evidence of complex interactions. In Ghana, media globalization to some extent has been resisted, embraced, and created a hybrid. Applying the qualitative content analysis method proved essential to this research, dealing with the complex phenomena of globalization and localization. The method was necessary in tackling the questions of the research. Indeed, employing this method added to the credibility of the findings and analysis of the research.
To a large extent, solutions have been found to the main questions that the research addresses. There has been a steady flow of international programs on GTV, though in varied proportions, in the eight years selected for the research and analysis. However, it is clear that, there has always been more local than global programs on GTV. Despite the vast areas and details covered in this research, some limitations may be identified in the lack of audience response to local and global programs on GTV, including English, as the language of transmission. Other audience response needed relate to genre, content of the programs, in terms of characters in specific programs, and plot or story lines. Also, necessary are audience preference of television stations and their comparisons of other television stations in Ghana. It is also important to seek the views of program directors, concerning existing media policies with regard to the flow of international programs on television in Ghana. Nevertheless, it is obvious that such limitations excite future scholarly study.
This research yielded results crucial not only to the television industry but fulfilling the lack of research on the media in Ghana, provides specific details, and sparks interest for more scholarly study, including comparative studies with other nations of the world. It is important to government and other organizations intending to explore the television industry in Ghana. Generally, the complexities of globalization on GTV may still yield an appropriate unity in diversity, so necessary in the world today.
About the Author
Kekeli K. Nuviadenu is an Assistant Professor and Interim Head of the Department of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts at the Bethune-Cookman College (BCC) in Daytona Beach, Florida. Dr. Nuviadenu has studied the media in Ghana, especially television, and comparative analysis of communication issues in developing and developed nations.
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