Programmes Officer at the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Kwaku Krobea Asante, has opined that Ghana’s latest worst World Press ranking is not surprising.
He said recent unwarranted attacks on journalists and attacks on their work have contributed to the recent ranking.
Ghana has dropped 30 places to 60th on the 2022 World Press Freedom Index.
The ranking is Ghana’s third-lowest, and the worst performance since Reporters Without Borders (RSF) began publishing the report in 2002.
A country fact file published by RSF said “Although the country is considered a regional leader in democratic stability, journalists have experienced growing pressures in recent years”.
“To protect their jobs and their security, they increasingly resort to self-censorship, as the government shows 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,” the fact file reads.
It adds that journalists’ safety has deteriorated sharply in recent years.
The new methodology defines press freedom as “the effective possibility for journalists, as individuals and as groups, to select, produce and disseminate news and information in the public interest, independently from political, economic, legal and social interference, and without threats to their physical and mental safety.”
Reacting to the report, Kwaku Krobea Asante said we had witnessed the assault on journalists, including that of Caleb Kudah of Citi Fm/ TV, who was assaulted for taking photos in an area classified as a national security zone.
He noted that even in recent times, the likes of Bobbie Ansah and other journalists were arrested over some allegations in line with their work.
According to him, the MFWA had cautioned against these things, hence it is not surprising that we have been rated poorly.
”We go to a point where people perceived that culture of silence was back. This assertion was not out of the vacuum. It was because of what was happening in the country.”
He added that journalists can make mistakes but such mistakes should not warrant attacks and abuse on them.
He admitted that ”there are irresponsible and reckless journalists in Ghana but as a deomcratic state that claims to be tolerant and gurantees press freedom, then you should let people know that you really believe in press freedom even when journalists err.”