Ghana has slipped 30 places in Reporters Without Borders’ most recent press freedom index rankings.
The research follows recent accusations that the Ghanaian government has been cracking down on the opposition, as well as claims of a rise in press freedom breaches.
Kwabena Bobbie Ansahm, an Accra FM presenter, was arrested on a charge of “publication of false news and offensive conduct” on February 10, 2022, after posting a video on social media claiming the First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, had allegedly obtained state land to build the headquarters for a foundation.
According to the police investigation, this assertion was false.
Onua TV’s Godsbrain Smart was also detained for extortion, however others have speculated that it has something to do with his harsh critiques of the administration.
Ghana was ranked 60th on the index, which monitors 180 nations, in a study released to honor International Press Freedom Day.
This is the country’s lowest ranking in the last 17 years, since it was ranked 66th in 2005.
With a score of 78.67, Ghana was ranked 30th out of 180 nations in 2021.
The country was placed 10th on the African continent, behind a number of African countries, including Burkina Faso, which was ranked 6th.
Read the full report:
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 authorizes journalists to demand information of national interest.”
“However, a clause in the law allows a fee to be charged if the information requested is in a language other than English – a provision used to deny journalists’ access to the information they seek.”
Journalists in Ghana are likewise underpaid, according to the report.
The safety of journalists has deteriorated dramatically in recent years. Security officers attacked reporters covering the success of anti-Covid-19 measures in 2020.
Political leaders are also threatening investigative journalists with death. According to the research, nearly all incidences of law enforcement officials harming journalists are not investigated.