Prof Ransford Gyampo is a political science lecturer at the University of Ghana

A Political Science lecturer at the University of Ghana, Professor Ransford Gyampo, has urged President Akufo-Addo to admit Ghana’s press freedom challenges.

He said the President must “send a clear message of intolerance for acts that undermine press freedom”.

The Political Science lecturer reacting to the 2022 World Press Freedom Index noted that as a democratic state, press freedom must be defended.

He cautioned that government must be circumspect such that in defending press freedom, some people are not made to become “tin-gods and tin-goddesses”.

“We must condemn the disingenuous attacks of social media political land guards and call on government to be more tolerant,” he said.

While Prof. Gyampo acknowledges the government’s role in addressing the poor state of press freedom, he called on the media to also be responsible for their work.

He said the media “must rethink their sensationalism and deliberate attempts by some to lie, dent reputations and refuse to properly retract and apologise with impunity.

“These would always serve as a recipe for actions from all quarters to undermine press freedom.”

Akufo-Addo must show intolerance for acts that undermine press freedom – Ransford Gyampo
Political Scientist, Professor Ransford Gyampo

He explained that just as President Akufo-Addo is not above the land laws, the media and its practitioners are not immune from criticisms.

“But at the same time, we must reject any attempt at foisting media tyranny on our democratic practice. It must be made clear to media practitioners that they cannot also be above the law simply because they have access to certain platforms that others do not have.

“The point must be emphasised that no nation can climb higher the ladder of democratic progression with a stifled press,” he added.

Last Tuesday, a France-based NGO published a finding detailing Ghana’s performance in terms of press freedom.

According to them, Ghana has dropped 30 places in the latest Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders for 2022.

The report, released to commemorate International Press Freedom Day, 2022, scored Ghana 67.43, placing the country 60th on the index that monitored 180 countries.

This ranking is the lowest the country has ever seen in the past 17 years since it placed 66th in 2005.

On the African continent, the country was ranked 10th behind many African countries, including Burkina-Faso, which ranked 6th.

The report also said, “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”.

Meanwhile, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has condemned portions of the 2022 World Press Freedom Index, which tagged the Akufo-Addo administration as “intolerant of criticism from citizens and the media”.

The party argued that, in contrast, the media under the NPP is the freest ever.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, the Director of Communications of the party, Yaw Boaben Asamoa, noted that the party’s contribution to the growth of the media under the Fourth Republic is rather exceptional.

“The NPP believes Ghana’s media is the freest ever and that its contribution to media growth is unparalleled in the Fourth Republic,” he said.