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This article explores the role of the news media in overseeing intelligence services and their work. As an informal mechanism, how do they fit into the wider landscape of intelligence oversight? By drawing on examples of US counter-terrorism efforts in the post-9/11 era, the article identifies three roles for the news media in intelligence oversight: as an information transmitter and stimulator for formal scrutinizers, as a substitute watchdog and as a legitimizing institution. Yet there is a danger of the news media acting merely as a lapdog. Other limitations include the impact of regulatory frameworks, government secrecy and the media strategies of intelligence services. The article concludes that the news media play an important role in the wider intelligence oversight landscape, but that their ability to scrutinize is uneven and ad hoc and as a result the picture they produce is blurred.

We want to be open. We listen to our audiences and engage in a permanent and meaningful debate. We publish our editorial guidelines. We explain. We correct our mistakes. We strive to report on our policies, budgets, editorial choices. We are transparent and subject to constant public scrutiny. We want our audiences to understand the workings of our media-organisations. We strive to be efficient and managed according to the principles of good governance.

Extract from the EBU’s Declaration on the Core Values of Public Service Media (here’s a shorter summary, and there’s a video version here.

We want to be open. We listen to our audiences and engage in a permanent and meaningful debate. We publish our editorial guidelines. We explain. We correct our mistakes. We strive to report on our policies, budgets, editorial choices. We are transparent and subject to constant public scrutiny. We want our audiences to understand the workings of our media-organisations. We strive to be efficient and managed according to the principles of good governance.

Extract from the EBU’s Declaration on the Core Values of Public Service Media (here’s a shorter summary, and there’s a video version here.

The emergence of community radio in Ghana’s media sphere has changed the political economy of communications in Ghana. The participatory platform of the medium has led to citizens’ empowerment and facilitated the political, economic and social development of this new democracy. Marginalized communities are now able to question policies. The views expressed during these participatory programmes like live phone-in have helped to promote accountability and transparency within government circles and the corporate world. However, concerns have been raised over the serious allegations and mischievous remarks made on community radio stations and how they can be regulated. This article shall argue that the complex and intricate nature of the regulatory mechanism and the conceptualization of community radio have made it difficult for the regulatory body, National Media Commission (NMC) to regulate the community radio. Seeing that Ghana is a multi-ethnic state, her democracy may be endangered if the content from community radio stations which could heat up the polity is not regulated.

The emergence of community radio in Ghana’s media sphere has changed the political economy of communications in Ghana. The participatory platform of the medium has led to citizens’ empowerment and facilitated the political, economic and social development of this new democracy. Marginalized communities are now able to question policies. The views expressed during these participatory programmes like live phone-in have helped to promote accountability and transparency within government circles and the corporate world. However, concerns have been raised over the serious allegations and mischievous remarks made on community radio stations and how they can be regulated. This article shall argue that the complex and intricate nature of the regulatory mechanism and the conceptualization of community radio have made it difficult for the regulatory body, National Media Commission (NMC) to regulate the community radio. Seeing that Ghana is a multi-ethnic state, her democracy may be endangered if the content from community radio stations which could heat up the polity is not regulated.