António Guterres is Secretary-General of the UN.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), António Guterres has reiterated the importance of press freedom in various countries.

According to him, “Without freedom of the press, there are no real democratic societies. Without freedom of the press, there is no freedom.”

Mr Guterres who joined the world to celebrate #WorldPressFreedomDay took to his Twitter on Tuesday to celebrate the bravery of media practitioners.

He noted that despite the numerous dangers faced by journalists, they work earnestly to ensure that political leaders remain accountable to their people.

Thus, “On #WorldPressFreedomDay, we honour their essential work in speaking truth to power, exposing lies, and building strong, resilient institutions & societies.”

Meanwhile, Ghana has dropped 30 places in the latest press freedom index put together by Reporters Without Borders.

The report released to commemorate international Press Freedom Day 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.

In 2021, Ghana was placed 30th out of 180 countries with a score of 78.67.

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.”

It continued that “press freedom is guaranteed by the Constitution of 1992. Media are free to operate as they like, in accordance with the regulations of the National Media Commission. The 2019 information access law authorises journalists to demand information of national interest.”

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.

On February 10, 2022, an Accra FM presenter, Kwabena Bobbie Ansahm was arrested on a charge of “publication of false news and offensive conduct” for posting a video on social media, claiming the First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, had allegedly obtained state land in order to build the headquarters for a foundation.

This claim was false, the Police investigation said.

Godsbrain Smart of Onua TV was also arrested for an alleged case of extortion, although some have claimed it has to do with his fierce criticisms of government.

Also, political leaders are making death threats against investigative journalists. Nearly all cases of law enforcement officers attacking journalists are not pursued, the report concluded.