It is unfair to blame the press freedom report solely on the government – Affail Money

The President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Roland Affail Monney, said the country’s performance in the 2022 Press Freedom Index should not be entirely blamed on the ruling government.

According to him, the report produced by Reporters Without Borders nowhere suggests that the government should take all the blame.

He argued in an interview on Newsfile that most media managers and institutions are responsible for the current trend of media freedom in the country.

“In fact, the government is high on the list of culprits due to the actions and inactions of state and non-state actors; for example, national security officers, they work directly under the authority of a minister who is a government official; therefore, they should take the blame.

“But when it comes to the issue of bad pay, we have a media space that is knitted by private institutions, and a lot of them pay their workers fixed salaries and that’s not the government’s doing. It doesn’t will not be fair to blame the government for this situation, ”he challenged on Saturday May 7.

Affail Monney argued that the report, while not so positive, does not spell doom for Ghana.

He said the current situation does not put the country in a way that it cannot regain its past glory in press freedom.

“There is a direct relationship between the terms of service and journalistic productions. So if a lot of our people are so compromised, it’s because they don’t get paid well. In some of the worst scenarios journalists don’t get paid at all and as the saying goes they have to survive and the survival instinct pushes some of them to criminal heights and that’s something we have to examine.

“We can bounce back but that calls for collective action and one of the actions outlined in the Minister of Information’s response is the education of state and non-state actors. Some of these actions are rooted in ignorance of the work of journalists.

“When you attack a single journalist, you are not only attacking all journalists, you are attacking the very soul of this country, which is democracy. So in many cases our soul has bled profusely from such attacks,” he noted.

Meanwhile, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) condemned parts of the 2022 World Press Freedom Index which called the Akufo-Addo administration “intolerant of criticism from citizens and the media”.

The Party has argued that in contrast, the media under the NPP is the freest ever.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, NPP communications director Yaw Boaben Asamoa noted that the party’s contribution to media growth under the Fourth Republic is quite exceptional.

“The NPP believes that Ghana’s media is the freest ever and its contribution to media growth is unparalleled in the Fourth Republic.

“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 said.

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.

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