Government welcomes RSF report on press freedom; steps to take – Kojo Oppong Nkrumah
Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said the government has welcomed Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF) report on press freedom in Ghana, with steps to rectify anomalies.
According to him, the RSF report is a basic reference document, which can be used to assess press freedom in Ghana in the future.
In a statement on Wednesday, the sector minister stressed that although publishers have urged caution in comparing the 2022 report to that of 2021, due to differences in methodology, the government will still consider a range of measures to improve the rating. from the country.
“The Government of Ghana, in line with its desire to continuously promote freedom of the press and the safety of journalists, intends to do the under-listed;
- Work with the National Media Commission to deepen the execution of the Coordinated Mechanism on the Safety of Journalists.
- Collaborate with stakeholders, including civil society organizations, to further educate state and non-state actors on the safety of journalists
- To address RFS concerns about the poor economic conditions of most journalists in the country, the government will continue to engage with media associations, including media owners, to improve the working and economic conditions of journalists.
- Collaborate with stakeholders in the fight against misinformation and the spread of fake news,” the statement reveals.
Addressing the positive highlights of the report, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, noted Ghana’s areas of progress, stating that “Ghana performed well in three (3) out of five (5) parameters under the new methodology, namely, the political context, framework and social context. Ghana scored 66%, 81% and 79% in that order.
It should be noted that this rather significant performance in the midst of a general deterioration is largely due to initiatives such as the adoption of the Right to Information Act, the coordinated mechanism on the safety of journalists and the program of capacity building of the media”.
On the downside of the report, Ofoase MP Ayirebi acknowledged that “Ghana’s performance in the safety of journalists leaves room for improvement”. Adding that “Ghana’s performance on the economic context is very poor and must also be reserved”.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a France-based NGO, released a report on Wednesday detailing Ghana’s press freedom performance.
According to them, Ghana fell 30 places in the latest Reporters Without Borders press freedom ranking for 2022.
The report, which was released to commemorate International Press Freedom Day, 2022, scored Ghana 67.43, placing Ghana 60th on the index which monitors 180 countries.
The ranking is the lowest the country has seen in the past 17 years since ranking 66th in 2005.
On the African continent, the country ranked 10th behind a number of African countries, including Burkina-Faso which ranked 6th on the continent.
However, in 2018, Ghana ranked first in Africa, a place now occupied by Seychelles.
The report also states that “the government has been intolerant of criticism. In addition, a third of the media are owned by politicians or people linked to the main political parties. The content they produce is largely partisan”.
Among the reasons for Ghana’s declining performance, Reporters Without Borders explained that, based on its findings, journalists in Ghana are not earning decent incomes to support themselves. The group therefore rated Ghana 47.22, with regard to the economic context of the journalists.
Other indicators that were also used in the calculation of Ghana’s current score included, among others, the country’s political, social, legislative and security contexts.
Commenting on the results, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah further hinted: “It is important to underline that the change in methodology contributed significantly to the lower ranking of a number of countries, including the Netherlands, which went from 5 (2021) to 28 (2022) in world ranking.
Due to this development, four (4) of the countries (Netherlands, Jamaica, Switzerland and New Zealand) that ranked in the top ten (10) in 2021 have dropped significantly in the rankings, falling from the top ten (10 ) during the year under review”.
He added, “It should be noted that Ghana’s drop in ranking was largely influenced by two of the new parameters, namely the economic context and the safety of journalists, where the country scored 47.22% and 62 respectively, 25%.
The country performed comparatively better in ensuring the safety of journalists (62.25%) juxtaposed with economic factors that influence media work (47.22%), supported by poor salaries for journalists and the lack of financial viability of some media houses, which makes a number of them less economically viable. viable”.
Meanwhile, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) condemned parts of the 2022 World Press Freedom Index which called the Akufo-Addo administration “intolerant of criticism from citizens and the media”.
The party argued that in contrast, the media under the NPP is the freest ever.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, the party’s communication director, Yaw Boaben Asamoa noted that the party’s contribution to the development of the media under the Fourth Republic is rather exceptional.
“The NPP believes that Ghana’s media is the freest ever and its contribution to media growth is unparalleled in the Fourth Republic,” he said.
Mr. Buaben Asamoa also highlighted some contributions to media freedom by the party to debunk recent reports of the government’s alleged aversion to free speech.
“In sum, the NPP has decriminalized speech, supported infrastructure and training with the International Press Center and support funds, and improved spectrum allocations and regulatory oversight,” he added.