NPP's National Communications Director, Yaw Buaben Asamoa

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, 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 are unparalleled in the Fourth Republic,” he said.

Ghana’s media is the freest ever – NPP reacts to World Press Freedom ranking
NPP’s National Communications Director, Yaw Buaben Asamoa

Mr. Buaben Asamoa also highlighted some contributions to media freedom by the party to debunk recent reports on government’s alleged aversion to free speech.

“In sum, NPP decriminalised speech, supported infrastructure and training with the International Press Centre and support funds and improved spectrum allocations and regulatory oversight,” he added.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in its 2022 Press Freedom Index noted that journalists in Ghana have in recent years experienced “growing pressures” from the government in their line of duty.

According to the report, this has led journalists in the country to “increasingly resort to self-censorship” in order to protect their jobs and security.

The report also bewailed the safety of journalists in recent years.

But the NPP, during its press conference, questioned the validity and authenticity of such claims by the RSF.

“Recent reports both internal and external, hyperbolically declaiming the supposed laws of media freedoms in Ghana are painting and playing up a picture of systematic harassment against free speech. But is it truly the case and does mainstream media and civil society organisations experience that in their daily lives and activities?

“Moreover, is free speech limitless and can it be mischievously used as an instrument to foster instability? These are key questions, objective answers to which can dampen the scurrilous damage to our hard-earned political stability and potential growth in the name of regime change,” he said.

Meanwhile, 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 media is the freest ever – NPP reacts to World Press Freedom ranking
GJA President Affail Monney

“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.

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 was 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.