Sulemana Braimah, Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), has said he is unhappy with the latest press freedom ranking on Ghana.
He called for immediate actions to be taken to reverse the situation.
Mr Braimah while commenting on the Key Points on TV3 Saturday May7 with host Dzifa Bampoh, noted that actions of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo including the use of the law of publication of false news, among others, have accounted for this situation.
“The president has used the publication of false news more than any other government meanwhile he was the one who condemned it years ago. I am not happy about our ranking,” he said.
Ghana has performed poorly in the latest press freedom ranking, dropping 30 places from 2021 to rank 60th on World Press Freedom Index 2022 with a score of 67.43.
The report cited government’s intolerance, a situation that forced journalists to engage in heavy self-censorship in the line with their work.
“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,” the World Press Freedom indicated in its latest ranking released May 3,2022.
It added: “The 2019 information access law authorises 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”
“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. In Ghana, most media outlets face financial problems, reflected in low salaries and poor working conditions for journalists. Frequently, new newspapers are launched only to fold in a few months, due to inability to meet production costs.
“State-owned media, for their part, benefit from government advertising contracts and payment for publishing news items. Government advertising is awarded through a non-transparent and inequitable process”.