Ghana’s level of free press reflects state of democracy – Sulemana Braimah
Mr Sulemana Braimah, Executive Director, Media Foundation for Africa (MFWA), says the level of press freedom in Ghana is a reflection of the country’s state of democracy.
Therefore, the decline in press freedom in recent years meant something was fundamentally wrong with the practice of democracy, he said.
Mr Braimah said this on Saturday during a radio discussion on “Poor Press Freedom: Time To Repeal False News Laws?”.
Ghana has dropped from 60th to 62nd position on the global ranking on Press Freedom Index 2022.
But in Africa, it placed 9th, an improvement from its 10th position in the 2022 report. This is Ghana’s worst performance in 18 years since it placed 66th globally in 2005.
The Executive Director said happenings in the media were quite disturbing given the successes chalked in times past.
“At a certain period in time, we were either 2nd or 3rd in Africa and in fact in 2018, we were number one in Africa but to now get to a situation where globally, we are ranked in the 60s is something that is certainly a worrying development,” he stated.
He said the government ought to demonstrate seriousness in promoting press freedom and expedite action on the National Comprehensive Framework on Safety of Journalists.
“The reason why we are doing badly in press freedom is because we have a Government that keeps living in self denial. Way back in 2019, we kept ringing the alarm bells that press freedom conditions were getting bad in the country but we were repeatedly told that it wasn’t the case,” he said.
Mr Samuel Akudzeto Ablakwa, Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu and Ranking Member, Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament, said the Government must put steps in place to remedy the decline in press freedom.
“Over the years, Ghana has been regarded highly and celebrated in terms of our democratic credentials. So, if in recent years, we have realised a decline, we must all be worried. Today, we are doing worse than countries like Burkina Faso, Mali and Sierra Leone that used to look up to us and this certainly does not make for glorious reading…”
He said the situation could negatively impact foreign investments, and Ghana’s global image.
The MP called for quick passage of the Broadcasting Law to deal with excesses in the media and promote responsible journalism.