Ghana, Sao Tome at par in FH’s 2013 press freedom index

media…both rank second in sub-Sahara Africa

Ghana and Sao Tome and Principe (ST&P) have been ranked same as second best countries with freedom of the press in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a Freedom House report released May 1, 2013.

Having the same ratings of 28, Ghana and ST&P’s press status was described as free in the Freedom of the Press 2013 report.

Ghana and ST&P together with four other countries placed 55th on the global ranking front.

Cape Verde was number one in the sub-Saharan Africa region with a rate of 27 while Eritrea was last placing 49th in the region.
Four countries including Ghana had a press status Free, 23 countries have a Partly Free press while 22 have a Not Free press status in the region.

Ghana stood at the third position in Africa in the 2013 global Press Freedom Index released January 30, 2013 by the Reporters Without Borders. Ghana placed 30th globally and third in Africa behind Namibia and Cape Verde. The country placed 41st in the 2012 edition of the Index.

According to Freedom House, sub-Saharan Africa suffered a “modest decline in press freedom in 2012, largely as a result of the losses in Mali, now rated Partly Free, and Guinea-Bissau, which slid into the Not Free category.”

It however noted that trends elsewhere on the continent were positive, with significant improvements for Côte d’Ivoire and Malawi and smaller positive moves for Liberia, Mauritania, Senegal, and Zimbabwe.

The report stated that South Africa’s score deteriorated slightly due to de facto restrictions on media coverage of wildcat mining strikes in August and September 2012, and the advancement of the controversial Protection of State Information Bill remained an issue of concern.

On the global front, Norway and Sweden were ranked first.

The report indicated that the percentage of the world’s population living in societies with a fully free press has fallen to its lowest level in over a decade.

It says an overall downturn in global media freedom in 2012 was punctuated by dramatic decline in Mali, deterioration in Greece, and a further tightening of controls in Latin America.

Moreover, conditions remained uneven in the Middle East and North Africa, with Tunisia and Libya largely retaining gains from 2011 even as Egypt experienced significant backsliding, the report says.

The report found that despite positive developments in Burma, the Caucasus, parts of West Africa, and elsewhere, the dominant trend was one of setbacks in a range of political settings. It attributed the decline to the increasingly sophis­ticated repression of independent journalism and new media by authoritarian regimes; the ripple effects of the European economic crisis and longer-term challenges to the financial sustainability of print media; and ongoing threats from nonstate actors such as radical Islamists and organized crime groups.

By Ekow Quandzie

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