Media Consultant, Lys Hayfron-Asare, has partly blamed the government and the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) for the country’s poor performance in the latest World Press Freedom Index.
Ghana dropped 30 places in the latest report put together by Reporters Without Borders.
For Madam Hayfron-Asare, the low ranking is due to the government’s indifference toward calls to take action against perpetrators of various incidences of abuse of journalists.
Speaking on JoyNews’ AM Show, on Wednesday, the Media Consultant said, the Association’s silence on these abuses and brutalities is also a contributory factor.
“Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) was calling on government to deal with issues with regards to journalists, but nothing was done. Unfortunately, the Ghana Journalists Association was very silent.
“If you heard of any brutality or any harassment of journalists, you didn’t have the Association come out immediately to either condemn or to solidarise with its members. So it’s not surprising that we have fallen,” she opined on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the Reporters Without Borders released the report to commemorate International Press Freedom Day. It scored Ghana 67.43, placing the country 60th on the index that monitored 180 countries.
This ranking is the lowest the country has ever seen in the past 17 years since it placed 66th in 2005.
In 2021, Ghana was placed 30th out of 180 countries with a score of 78.67.
On the African continent, the country was ranked 10th behind a number of African countries, including Burkina-Faso which ranked 6th on the continent.
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 report comes on the back of recent reports that the Ghanaian government has been clamping down on dissent amid claims of a surge in press freedom violations.
On February 10, 2022, an Accra FM presenter, Kwabena Bobbie Ansah was arrested on a charge of “publication of false news and offensive conduct” for posting a video on social media, claiming the First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, had allegedly obtained state land in order to build the headquarters for a foundation.
This claim was false, the Police investigation said.
Godsbrain Smart of Onua TV was also arrested for an alleged case of extortion, although some have claimed it has to do with his fierce criticisms of government.
Also, political leaders are making death threats against investigative journalists. Nearly all cases of law enforcement officers attacking journalists are not pursued, the report concluded.