Ghana has dropped 30 places to 60th on the 2022 World Press Freedom Index.
The ranking, undertaken by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), is Ghana’s third-lowest since the Index was first published in 2002.
In 2002, the country was ranked 67th and 66th in 2005.
According to the RSF report, although Ghana was 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 RSF noted.
It stated that journalists’ safety had deteriorated sharply in recent years.
“In 2020, reporters covering the effectiveness of anti-COVID-19 measures were attacked by security forces.
And political leaders are again making death threats against investigative journalists. Nearly all cases of law enforcement officers attacking journalists are not pursued,” the RSF said.
In Africa, it said recent wave of draconian laws criminalising online journalism had dealt a new blow to the right to information.
At the same time, the spread of rumours, propaganda, and disinformation has contributed to the undermining of journalism and access to quality information, the report stated.
However, Seychelles, Namibia, South Africa, Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Gambia and Niger were all ranked higher on the index than Ghana.
Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Portugal, Costa Rica, Lithuania and Liechtenstein make up the first 10 countries on the index.
The report noted that the 2022 index was compiled using a new methodology to take better account of new challenges, including those linked to media digitalisation.
Another change in the data gathering this year was that although the survey stopped at the end of January 2022, updates for January to March 2022 were carried out for countries where the situation had changed dramatically, such as Russia, Ukraine and Mali.
The survey assesses on the basis of a quantitative survey of press freedom violations and abuses against journalists and media, and a qualitative study based on the responses of hundreds of press freedom experts selected by RWB – which includes journalists, academics and human rights defenders.
In order to reflect press freedom’s complexity, five new indicators were used to compile the Index; the political context, legal framework, economic context, socio-cultural context, and security.
The report noted that the 180 countries and territories ranked by RSF, indicators were assessed on the basis of a quantitative survey of press freedom violations and abuses against journalists and media, and a qualitative study based on the responses of hundreds of press freedom experts selected by RSF (journalists, academics and human rights defenders) to a questionnaire with 123 questions.
BY TIMES REPORTER