Freedom of expression declines in Ghana after 2018 – Report

Police observing protestors during ‘Occupy Flagstaff House’

In 2018, Ghana was the only country with enhanced freedom of expression in sub-Sahara Africa and was described as Open in the Global Expression Report.

But in the Global Expression Report 2024, Ghana has fallen into the category of ‘Restricted’ countries.

According to Article 19, a freedom of expression organisation, the publishers of the Report, the largest proportion of sub-Saharan African population sits in the middle expression category (Restricted): more than one-third of the regional population live in these nine countries, including Ghana.

“Freedom of expression in sub-Saharan Africa is stagnant. Every other region has seen a significant drop in expression over the last 10 years, but there has been no significant change in sub-Saharan Africa over that timeframe,” the publishers said.

Article 19, states that the Global Expression Report is a data-driven look at the right to freedom of expression and information across the world.

We measure the freedom of everyone – not just journalists or activists – to express, communicate, and participate. Our data tracks freedom of expression across 161 countries using 25 indicators to create an Expression Score between 0 and 100 for each country. That score places it in an expression category: Open, Less Restricted, Restricted, Highly Restricted, or Crisis,” they said.

Article 19 indicates that each year’s report, they explore score changes across three time periods: the preceding year (2022–2023), the last five years (2018–2023), and the last 10 years (2013–2023).

“The rest of our analysis includes our full dataset (2000–2023),” they said.

In producing the Report they selected the 25 indicators from the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) Dataset that best matched their broad and holistic view of freedom of expression. The V-Dem Dataset and indicators are described below.

“We included these 25 indicators in a Bayesian measurement model for countries with available data between 2000 and 2023 to create the Report metric, which underpins our report.

Our final data file contains the 161 countries (after combining Gaza and West Bank to report results for Palestine) for which at least one year of data is available between 2000 and 2023.

Throughout our reporting, we refer to the results by ‘country’. However, we acknowledge that some of these are special regions that are part of another country in our data (e.g. Hong Kong). We acknowledge that there are various ways to group countries into regions and to analyse the data, and we continue to evolve our methodology each year,” they said.

The Report further states that in 2023, the percentage of people living in countries in Crisis rose to 53% around the world. That’s more than four billion people in 39 countries. This growth in the population in Crisis countries is due to the shift of India into this expression category between 2022 and 2023. 

By Emmanuel K Dogbevi
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