The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has described as depressing, the country’s 60th position on the World Press Freedom ranking by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
Speaking at a news conference to commemorate the International Press Freedom Day in Accra, on Tuesday, GJA President, Roland Affail Monney said although the Association expected the results, it did not anticipate such a sharp drop in the ranking.
“Ghana’s latest ranking in the World Press Freedom index is depressing enough to effect dramatic mood swings from one of celebration to that of lamentation. Indeed, a drop in ranking had been anticipated due to a confluence of anti-media factors but never did we expect the drop to be so precipitous,” he noted.
Roland Affail Monney referenced some instances where journalists were brutalized, as reasons for the stain on the country’s press freedom.
He stressed that the safety of journalists in the country has sharply deteriorated, a situation he said is the outcome of the country’s current press freedom.
“Death threats on investigative journalists also went uninvestigated let alone punished while law enforcement officers who were supposed to protect journalists rather brutalize them,” he said.
However, Affail Monney contended that the results, although depressing, do not spell doom for Ghana.
He explained that the current situation does not put the country in a manner not to be able to regain its press freedom, but rather “still recognizes Ghana as a regional pillar for democratic stability.”
Meanwhile, Executive Chairman of the National Media Commission, Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh noted although journalists may err in their reportage, offenders should resort to the rule of law and not through physical force.
“After we have said what we want to say, if it offends the sensibilities and sensitivities of other people, we must pay compensation, because our rights are not more important than the rights of anybody whose reckless speech must be made to pay for that mischief, but not through the use of physical force but through the use of the rule of law.”
Ghana has dropped 30 places in the latest press freedom index put together by Reporters Without Borders.
The report comes on the back of recent reports that the Ghanaian government has been clamping down on dissent and claims of a surge in press freedom violations.
The report released to commemorate international Press Freedom Day, 2022, scored Ghana 67.43, placing Ghana 60th on the index that monitors 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 a number of African countries, including Burkina-Faso which ranked 6th on the continent.
The report says “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.”
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