Ghana’s Media Freest Ever – NPP Responds to World Press Freedom Rankings
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) condemned parts of the 2022 World Press Freedom Index that called the Akufo-Addo administration “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, the party’s communication director, Yaw Boaben Asamoa noted that the party’s contribution to the development of the media under the Fourth Republic is rather exceptional.
“The NPP believes that Ghana’s media is the freest ever and its contribution to media growth is unparalleled in the Fourth Republic,” he said.
Mr. Buaben Asamoa also highlighted some contributions to media freedom by the party to debunk recent reports of the government’s alleged aversion to free speech.
“In sum, the NPP has decriminalized speech, supported infrastructure and training with the International Press Center 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 come under “increasing pressure” from the government in carrying out their duties.
According to the report, this has led journalists in the country to “increasingly resort to self-censorship” in order to protect their jobs and safety.
The report also lamented the safety of journalists in recent years.
But the NPP, in its press conference, questioned the validity and authenticity of such RSF claims.
“Recent reports both internal and external, hyperbolically declaiming so-called media freedom laws in Ghana paint and reproduce a picture of systematic harassment against freedom of expression. But is this really the case and do mainstream media and civil society organizations experience this in their daily lives and activities?
“Furthermore, is freedom of expression unlimited and can it be used maliciously as an instrument for promoting instability? These are key questions, to which objective answers can mitigate despicable 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 60and position in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) World Press Freedom Index.
Speaking at a press conference to commemorate International Press Freedom Day in Accra on Tuesday, GJA President Roland Affail Monney said that while the Association was awaiting the results, it was not hadn’t expected such a drastic drop in the rankings.
“Ghana’s latest ranking in the World Press Freedom Index is depressing enough to cause dramatic mood swings from celebration to lament. Indeed, a ranking drop had been anticipated due to a confluence of anti-media factors, but we never expected the drop to be so precipitous,” he noted.
Ghana has lost 30 places in the latest press freedom ranking compiled by Reporters Without Borders.
The report follows recent reports that the Ghanaian government has cracked down on dissent and allegations of an upsurge 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 which monitored 180 countries.
The ranking is the lowest the country has seen in the past 17 years since ranking 66th in 2005.