Improve ranking on Press Freedom Index
May 3 is annually celebrated as World Press Freedom Day.
This means yesterday was marked as such by journalists across the globe.
The observance of the day is to raise awareness about the importance of freedom of the press and remind governments to uphold the right to freedom of expression and free press.
Congratulations to all journalists and all others helping in upholding this right.
The theme for this year’s celebration of the day is “Shaping a Future of Rights: Freedom of expression as a driver for all other human rights”.
UNESCO has affirmed the theme as signifying the “enabling element of freedom of expression to enjoy and protect all other human rights”.
For UNESCO, a whole global body with all its credibility, to associate itself with World Press Freedom Day tells how important the press or the media and, for that matter, the work of journalists, is.
It is worthy of note that the day, apart from the original purpose or purposes for its celebration, comes with reports of how freedom of expression and free press has been upheld or disrespected, and journalists treated in various countries.
Journalists are sometimes beaten, harassed, heckled, gagged, jailed or even murdered in some countries while on duty and such acts form part of the factors for assessing countries in how they have been friendly or hostile to the press.
One other important factor considered in such evaluation is media content, whether it is biased and likely to cause disunity or it is objective and so can boost national cohesion for unhindered development.
A cursory look at the general happenings in Ghana would tell everyone that this is a peaceful State and one that upholds all
freedoms and human rights all the time.
However, the group Reporters Without Borders seems to be asking the public to be careful about their assessment of the country regarding press freedom and related human rights.
According to its Press Freedom Index that evaluates and ranks the environment for journalism in 180 countries and territories, the country is showing signs of deteriorating environment for journalistic practice.
Just imagine that in the 2021 edition of the ranking, the country secured the 30th position out of the 180 countries, but has dropped two consecutive times to 60th in 2022 and to 62th this year.
The current report assigns such reasons as attacks on journalists and political ownership of media outlets which has caused biased media content. (See our story on page ….)
The whole report gives details of the press freedom situation in the country,
We believe the government and other stakeholders like the police, the Ghana Journalists Association, media owners, National Commission on Civic Education and Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice would secure copies and see the roles they can play for the country to right the wrongs and improve its performance next year and those beyond.
This would help boost its image as a highly-democratic nation in Africa and a force to reckon with beyond the continent.
We say kudus to the country’s journalists for so far collectively playing their role as the Fourth Estate of the Realm.