Ghana Makes Lowest-ever Fall In World Press Freedom Index After Two Decades

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Ghanaian journalists

Ghana has dropped 30 places on the 2022 World Press Freedom index.

This is Ghana’s lowest-ever fall in ranking in close to two decades.

The latest ranking compiled by Reporters Without Borders, saw Ghana being ranked 60, a sharp decline from its 30th place last year.

This was as results of recent reports pointing to an attempt to shut down dissenting views in the country. The Akufo-Addo government has been accused of leading an attack on critical voices from the media and CSOs in the country.

The number of media arrests made over the last few months are some evidences to that effect. All this and other violent-related attacks on the media are believed to have led to Ghana scoring 67.43, to place 60th on the index that monitors 180 countries.

The report released to commemorate international Press Freedom Day also added that although the country is considered a regional leader in democratic stability, journalists have experienced growing pressures in recent years.

It stated that “… the government has shown itself intolerant of criticism. In addition, one-third of media outlets are owned by politicians or by people tied to the top political parties. The content they produce is largely partisan. It continued that “press freedom is guaranteed by the Constitution of 1992. Media are free to operate as they like, in accordance with the regulations of the National Media Commission. The 2019 information access law authorises journalists to demand information of national interest. However, a clause in the law allows a fee to be charged if the information requested is in a language other than English – a provision used to deny journalists’ access to the information they seek. To protect their jobs and their security, they increasingly resort to self-censorship, as the government shows itself intolerant of criticism.”

Reporters Without Borders revealed that the safety of Ghanaian journalists has deteriorated sharply in recent years.

“For example, the campaigners said in 2020, reporters covering the effectiveness of anti-COVID-19 measures were attacked by security forces. That is not the only grounds. Ghanaian political leaders are said to be making death threats against investigative journalists. Nearly all cases of law enforcement officers attacking journalists are not pursued. In 2021, Ghana was placed 30th out of 180 countries with a score of 78.67.”

In Africa, Ghana was ranked 10th behind a number of countries, including Burkina-Faso which ranked 6th on the continent.

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