Ghana has dropped four points in the latest ranking in the 2019 World Press Freedom Index as it moved from the rank of 23 to 27 from the previous year.
Besides, the country has also lost its status as Africa’s best ranked country in the World Press Freedom Index, compiled annually by Reporters Without Borders (RWB) which evaluates the state of journalism in 180 countries.
Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Ranking Member on Foreign Affairs, in statement on the floor of Parliament, noted that this latest ranking released only a couple of weeks ago demands sober reflection from all.
The statement is to commemorate this year’s World Press Freedom Day which is being celebrated across the world today.
This year’s event is under theme: “Media for Democracy: Journalism and Election in times of Disinformation”.
Mr Ablakwa also stated that Ghana has come too far as a country to have any threshold of tolerance whatsoever for reports such as police brutalities meted out to journalists.
He cited incidents of Police violence against the three Ghanaian Times journalists, that of Latif Iddrisu of Joy News as well as that of Victor Kwakume and Timothy Gobah all of the Daily Graphic.
He said Parliament must send a clear message to all that the nation would not countenance any abuse or attack whatsoever on journalists carrying out their legitimate duties.
“We must send a clear message to all that this nation would not countenance any abuse or attack whatsoever on journalists carrying out their legitimate duties,” he added.
Mr Ablakwa also asked Ghanaians to reflect on the dangers posed by disinformation as a product of toxic mix of abuse of technology, violation of data privacy, interference by rogue external elements, often with the active collaboration of unscrupulous insider actors.
He said fake news and a weaponized media that play on the fears of people in order to divide them must be defeated.
He expressed the hope that lessons would be drawn from how disinformation has eroded the democratic gains in other jurisdiction.
Mr Ablakwa also commended the media in Ghana for entrenching a new wave of activist journalism.
He said the positive trending is emerging where journalists do not only tell the story and move on but take up the story as a cause and pursue it until there are clear and tangible results.
He congratulated the Media Coalition Against Galamsey, the spirited campaign to find the kidnapped Takoradi girls, the campaign to disband political vigilante groups and the remarkable story of resilience of the Right to Information Coalition.
Mr Ablakwa further commended Ghanaian journalists for their sacrifices and working under difficult conditions to expose the wrongs in the society.
He also paid glowing tribute to the memory of journalists like of Ahmed Hussein-Suale of Tiger Eye who was murdered but whose legacy in contributing towards fair and just world lives for forever.
Neenyi George Andah, Deputy Minister of Communication, in a contribution congratulated journalists on the celebration of the 2019 World Press Freedom Day and urged Parliament to support them.
He stressed the need to encourage more independent media houses to provide balance reportage to ensure media freedom and free expression.
Mr Mathias Ntow, Member of Parliament (MP) for Aowin in his contribution also commended Ghanaian journalists for their role in the country.
He stressed the need for the Parliamentary Press Corps to be well resourced to enable them carry out their duties successfully.
The United Nation General Assembly in 1993 proclaimed World Press Freedom Day to be observed every 3rd May. It is instructive to note that the processes leading to this declaration was spearheaded by African Journalists who in 1991 issued the landmark Windhoek Declaration on media pluralism and independence.