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Ghana’s press freedom ranking: Are we actually improving?

The 2024 Press Freedom Index report released by Reporters Without Borders indicates that Ghana has risen 12 places from 62nd position in 2023 to 50th.

In terms of score the West African nation scored 67.71%, a 1.78 percentage point increase compared to 65.93% in 2023 the report indicated.

But can we say this is an improvement compared to where we were? What factors are contributing to this development? Or better how is the global index doing? Let’s take a dive.

Where we were, and what happened.

About a decade ago, Ghana was among the top 30 countries globally with good standing as far as press freedom is concerned. In terms of score, the nation had an “A”, above 80%, making it the third best in Africa next to Namibia and Cabo Verde. Ghana’s press freedom was termed “Satisfactory”.

For the past three years, there have been a series of challenges which has worsened the freedom of the press making the environment for journalism and for the public's right to reliable, independent, and diverse news and information difficult to live in. 

According to the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), journalists have faced threats, arrests, detentions, and even torture from state agencies such as the police, military, and political operatives of political parties.

Political attacks on press freedom, including the suppression of independent media outlets and widespread dissemination of misinformation, have significantly intensified in the past years.

Here are some of the events that have occurred over the years.


  • Latif Iddrisu, a Ghanaian broadcast journalist for Joy FM radio station and JoyNews television channel, was beaten by a group of police officers at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) headquarters in the country’s capital, Accra, on March 27, 2018

Dagbon Radio

  • Sadiq Abubakari Gariba, a radio show host with Dagbon Radio, was attacked during a live radio programme on May 3, on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day by a former Northern Regional Communications Officer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Radio Ada

  • In March 2023, the deputy station coordinator of Radio Ada, Noah Dameh, was remanded by the Tema Circuit Court for publishing “false news” about a businessman. He was released on bail six days after advocacy against his detention.
  • In August 2022, chiefs of the Ada Traditional Area banned Radio Ada from covering the traditional festival of the area because the station had consistently discussed the alleged impropriety of the salt mine concessions granted to McDan’s Electrochem.
  • Radio Ada was also attacked on Thursday, January 13, 2023, by a group of eight men, one of whom was said to have been armed with a pistol.

Brenya FM

  • In May 2022, some men stormed the studio of Benya FM, “kicked and punched radio show host Osofo Blessing and his producer, Nana Gyefo, and smashed the station’s equipment.”
  • The Programmes Director of the station, Usman Kwaku Dawood, was reported as saying that the assailants were supporters of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) who were unhappy with how the station’s programming tackled topics like the government’s poor management of the fishing business in Elmina.

Connect FM

  • Connect FM’s journalist, Eric Nana Gyetuah, was allegedly assaulted by five police officers in February 2022 for taking photos of some arrested individuals the police had brought to the restaurant and refused to delete the photos when they confronted him.

Citi FM

  • In 2021, Citi FM’s Caleb Kudah was also assaulted by operatives of National Security when he went to film abandoned state vehicles hidden in the National Security yard.

Ahmed Hussein-Suale

  • In 2019, investigative journalist Ahmed Hussein-Suale was killed after a leading member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), displayed his pictures on Net 2 TV, inciting the public to attack him.
  • Ahmed Suale was later shot and killed by unknown gunmen, but nobody has been held responsible for his killing to date. It was in that year, that Ghana dropped to 3rd position in Africa and 27th in the world.

These events among others have contributed to the diminishing freedom of the press. In 2022, Ghana dropped 30 places, from 30th position in 2021 to 60th with a 67.43%.

This further worsened in 2023 when Ghana dropped two more places to the 62nd position and ranked 10 in Africa. Ghana was behind Burkina Faso, despite them being ruled by the military, banning local retransmission of international broadcasters and deporting foreign journalists.

Ghana’s press freedom is termed “Problematic

So asking the question are we improving by ranking 50th as the World Press Freedom for 2024 says seems to be a valid one.

What factors are contributing to this “improvement”?

 The index is generated using 5 major indicators. Despite the improvement in Ghana’s rank and score, there was a decrease in scores of 4 out of the 5 indicators. These include political, economic, legislative, and social. The only indicator that saw an improvement compared to 2023 was the security of the press which recorded 82.94%.

This shows that there is a lot of work to be done in the four remaining indicators.

Despite Ghana's reputation for democratic stability, journalists face increasing pressure, leading to self-censorship amid government intolerance for criticism.

A third of media outlets are politically affiliated, producing partisan content. While freedom of the press is constitutionally guaranteed, financial challenges plague the industry.

Journalists encounter safety risks, evidenced by attacks and threats from political supporters. Police violence against journalists often goes unpunished, as seen in the stalled investigation of journalist Ahmed Hussein-Suale's murder, further compounded by government officials citing a lack of evidence for inaction.

The Global Perspective.

The year-to-date perspective indicates that 12 journalists have been killed this year with about 570 journalists and media workers detained currently. China (111), Myanmar (70), Belarus (47), and Israel (38) contain about 46.6% of these journalists and media workers.

The report also indicated that there is a global fall in press freedom which is threatened by the very people who should be its guarantors.

The influence of political authorities and the non-fulfillment of their roles as guarantors of the best possible environment for journalism and news is decreasing the freedom of the press and will be exacerbated by the number of polls happening in 2024.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.