Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa, Sulemana Braimah has said that reports from international organisations about the poor state of the country’s record on press freedom affirm various concerns which have been raised by keen advocates.
He noted that somehow, these concerns have been ignored by the government.
“State authorities must acknowledge that things are not the way they ought to be. We need to all sit down and government must accept that things are not normal and we work towards improving our conditions,” he said on Wednesday, May 4, 2022, on the Super Morning Show.
His comment follows the rankings by Reporters Without Borders, in which Ghana dropped 30 places to 60th globally, and 10th in Africa.
The report released to commemorate 2022 International Press Freedom Day, scored Ghana 67.43, placing the country 60th on the index that monitored 180 countries.
It comes on the back of recent news that the Ghanaian government has been clamping down on dissent and claims of a surge in press freedom violations.
This ranking is the lowest the country has ever seen in the past 17 years since it placed 66th in 2005.
During the interaction with Co-host of the show, Kojo Yankson, Mr. Braimah intimated that “what’s accounting for this is the spate of impunity that we have tolerated over the years.
“Second is the fact that we have a government that continues to deny reports that are credible that are put out there as far as our press freedom situation is concerned, and now we have a national security establishment that over the period had perpetuated a lot of abuses against journalists,” he added.
He cited various instances of attacks on journalists such as the murder of investigative journalist, Ahmed Suale and condemned reactions from the government, including a statement from the President dissociating the death of the investigative Journalist Ahmed Suale, from his (Suale’s) role as a journalist and expressed disappointment in government’s failure to admit that something is wrong.
“An MP incites violence against a journalist, months later this journalist is shot and the MP is walking free” – @Sulemana on Press Freedom in Ghana. #JoySMS pic.twitter.com/es6Y4m99vL
— Joy 99.7 FM (@Joy997FM) May 4, 2022 “What for me is critical is that the actions that are perpetuated against journalists, that state actors have a responsibility and a capacity to act against such perpetrators, and yet nothing happens. An MP incites violence against a journalist, months later the journalist is shot and the MP is walking free to the extent that a few months later, he does the same thing to another journalist and that is why I say that our state authorities must acknowledge that things are not the way they ought to be.”
He, thus, entreated state authorities to sit up and work hand-in-hand with other stakeholders of press freedom at improving the situation in the country.