Member of Parliament (MP) for Builsa South, Dr. Clement Apaak, has described the state of media freedom in Ghana as terrible since the New Patriotic Party (NPP) assumed office.
The country has lost its status as Africa’s best ranked country in the World Press Freedom Index which is compiled annually by Reporters without Boarders (RWB) which evaluates the state of journalism in 180 countries.
Ghana’s ranking on press freedom in Africa reduced to 3rd this year, from 1st last year. It also dropped four points in the latest ranking in the 2019 World Press Freedom Index, as it moved from the rank of 23 to 27 from the previous year.
Report shows that the murder of investigative journalist Ahmed Hussein Suale and other assaults on journalists had a major blow to the country’s press freedom.
Speaking on TV3’s New Day Monday on press freedom, the Builsa South MP blamed the president, Nana Akufo-Addo and his government for the fall in media freedom, noting that, even though president Akufo-Addo contributed immensely to the repeal of the criminal libel law, he has done nothing to protect journalists in the country.
“But when you have a situation where you have a government that looks at its history of predecessors and claims made that they are the best of democracy, the prepotency of rule of law, promoters of freedom and speech and we have the current president whose rise to glory also includes the fact that he is deemed to have led the effort to repeal the criminal liable law , superintending over what we are seeing today, then it gives room for worry”, he said.
Dr. Apaak, in describing how press freedom has come under siege in the past few years under the Akufo-Addo-led government, recounted how the Bolgatanga residence of Edward Adeti, Starr FM’s Upper East regional correspondent was broken into three days after his investigation led to the resignation of a minister of state, Rockson Ayine Bukari.
“The most recent one is Edward Adeti of Starr FM, what is his crime? He did his work, he uncovered some work that was being done in my region of Upper East by Chinese, where upon he was going to expose that from the tapes that have come to the public domain, the minister of state at the office of the president, former regional minister of mine from the Upper East tried to negotiate an arrangement, a bribe for the journalist to drop the story”, he recounted.
Read:Investigative journalist’s house ransacked days after ‘exposing’ minister of state
The MP said the government is unsympathetic and have remained silent on the attacks on journalists in the country today, explaining why Ghana’s media freedom today is in a terrible state.
“Everyone who has followed the trajectory since the NPP took over the reign of the governance of this country will come to the conclusion that this government is the most intolerant, and that is why today Ghana cannot boast, we can’t hold our heads high in as far as media freedom is concerned”, he observed.
He urged that journalists be treated fairly without any forms of abuse in their line of duty.
“They [journalists] are also Ghanaian citizens, they have a role to play and we have the collective responsibility to tolerate them no matter how unpalatable their work may seem to us.”