Ghana improves in 2024 press freedom ranking

Ghana has improved on its media ranking, the World Press Freedom Index 2024 published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has revealed. The report indicated that Ghana made a significant improvement by moving from the 62nd position in the 2023 ranking to the 50th position in the 2024 ranking, which covered 180 countries. According to the report, regarded as one of Africa's most democratic countries, Ghana had a vibrant and pluralistic media environment. It noted that, however, the creation of media outlets by politicians had given rise to politicised and biased media content. 'Thanks to the 1992 Constitution authorising new media outlets to be created without a licence, Ghana has at least 100 media outlets, including radio stations, TV channels and?news?sites. Many privately owned media, such as?the?Joy News?channel, the?Myjoyonline?website?and?radio?Peace FM, are very popular and reflect a high degree of pluralism and diversity,' it stated. 'They have the independence necessary to operate without politic al restrictions. The state-owned?Ghana Broadcasting Corporation,?and its TV and radio stations,?GBC TV and GBC Radio,?have nationwide coverage.' It reiterated that there were also numerous community radio stations throughout the country; however, measures taken by the authorities to promote media pluralism had favoured, in recent years, the emergence of partisan media outlets launched by politicians. The report said journalists' safety had seriously deteriorated in Ghana in recent years; stating that several attacks on press freedom had been registered, including the intrusion of ruling party supporters into a TV studio and an attack on a journalist during a live report in October 2023. It said politicians?had also made?death threats against investigative journalists. The report said most cases of police violence against journalists were not pursued.? It said the same went for murderers of journalists and that five years after the brutal death of investigative reporter Ahmed Hussein-Suale, the investigat ion had come to a halt. It said worse still, the Attorney General and Justice Minister told Parliament in early 2024 that criminal prosecutions had not been initiated due to lack of evidence. On the global front this year, the RSF highlights a 'worrying decline in support and respect for media autonomy and an increase in pressure from the state or other political actors'. This is based on the fact that, of the five indicators used to compile the ranking, it is the political indicator that has fallen most, with a global average decline of 7.6 points. Out of the 180 countries and territories analysed, some 138 places had a majority of their respondents saying that political actors in their countries were involved in disinformation or propaganda campaigns. This involvement is described as 'systematic' in 31 countries. The?United States?ranked 55th in 2024, having dropped 10 positions. RSF notes that the country (United States) is experiencing growing distrust in the media, partly driven by antagonism from political officials, while there have also been cases of local law enforcement raiding newsrooms. Source: Ghana News Agency