May 5, 2022

World Press Freedom: Methodology Used By Organizers Out

Ghana has dropped 30 places in the latest press freedom index put together by Reporters Without Borders.

Ghana was ranked 60th in the 2022 Reporters Without Borders index, up from 30th in 2022. This is Ghana’s lowest position in 17 years, following rankings of 66th in 2005 and 67th in 2002.

However, some Ghanaians are skeptical of the validity of the findings and the methodology employed to reach them.

The methodology used to measure media freedom in over 180 countries, including Ghana, has been made accessible by Reporters Without Borders, the organizers of the World Press Freedom Index.

The Index is a snapshot of the situation in the 180 countries and territories during the calendar year (January-December) prior to its publication. Nonetheless, it is meant to be seen as an accurate reflection of the situation at the time of publication.

Therefore, when the press freedom situation changes dramatically in a country between the end of the year assessed and publication, the data is updated to take account of the most recent events possible.

This may be related to a new war, a coup d’état, an unprecedented or very unusual major attack on journalists, or the sudden introduction of an extreme repressive policy.

For the 2022 Index, this exceptional procedure was used with Russia, Ukraine, and Mali.

Each country or territory’s score is evaluated using five contextual indicators that reflect the press freedom situation in all of its complexity: political context, legal framework, economic context, sociocultural context, and safety.

The Index’s rankings are based on a score ranging from 0 to 100 that is assigned to each country or territory, with 100 being the best possible score (the highest possible level of press freedom) and 0 the worst.

Recently, the US Department of State also released its 2021 annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices which reports on key human rights issues in various countries across the world including Ghana.

The report cited Ghana for a number of human rights abuses including clamping down on free speech.

Some specific cases mentioned in the report included the killing of social activist, Kaaka in Ejura, and the arrest and abuse of Citi FM/Citi TV’s Caleb Kudah.

The death of investigator of the Tiger Eye PI team in the Number 12 exposé on corruption in Ghana football, Ahmed Saule has not yet been closed after he was shot dead by some unknown assailants in January 2019 at Madina in Accra

Before this, in July 2018, the National Security personnel, in another notable incident, arrested and tortured two journalists after the publication of an article that criticized the National Security Minister, Albert Kan Dapaah.

Over the course of the Akufo-Addo administration, it has been criticized on these points, as well as the closure of some prominent pro-opposition radio stations.

The government’s response so far to these incidents has been largely condemned, with many suggesting that it gives the impression that the state is either complicit or tacitly supports such actions against journalists.

Source: Emmanuel Owusu Anti

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