Ghana drops on World Press Freedom Index

Ghana has dropped three places from its 27th position, last year, on the latest World Press Freedom Index.

Now ranked 30 among 180 countries, globally assessed based on the level of freedom available to journalists, the country’s new position was largely attributable to insecurity and continuous threat on the lives of media practitioners in their line of duty.

On the African region however, Ghana ranked second after Namibia which was adjudged Africa’s freest country for journalists.

Released by Reporters without Borders (RSF), an international non-profit organisation, the report, for instance, singled out the murder of private investigator, Ahmed Suale whose assailants are still on the loose more than a year after his death.

“In West Africa, an investigation into the murder of the investigative journalist Ahmed Hussein-Suale in Ghana in January last year failed to identify those responsible,” the report indicated.

According to RSF, “press freedom remains highly fragile in Sub-Saharan Africa” as journalists continue to lose their lives in line of duty with the killers generally going unpunished.

According to RSF figures, “102 journalists have been killed in the continent over the past 10 years, half of them in Somalia (which is one place up at 163rd) and remains the most dangerous country for reporters, despite significant progress towards punishing police officers and military personnel who commit violence against media workers.” 

The report observed the need for “greater legal protection” for journalists, as their safety remained a major issue in the quest for media freedom.

“The coming decade will be decisive for the future of journalism, with the COVID-19 pandemic highlighting and amplifying the many crises that threaten the right to freely report, independent, diverse and reliable information,” the report indicated.

Meanwhile, for the fourth year running, Norway topped the index with others, including Finland, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands ranked among best five countries for press freedom.

Djibouti, China, Eritrea, Turkmenistan and North Korea were the worst countries which upheld media freedom.

The Press Freedom Index is an annual ranking of countries based on an assessment of the countries’ press freedom records.

The index intends to reflect the degree of freedom that journalists, news organisations, and citizens have in each country, and the efforts made by authorities to respect this freedom.

The index ranks 180 countries and regions according to the level of freedom available to journalists, calculating the global and regional indicators to evaluate the overall performance of countries and regions (in the world and in each region) as regards media freedom.      

BY ABIGAIL ANNOH

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