The President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Albert Kwabena Dwumfuor, has expressed concern over the impact of erratic power supply on the country’s press freedom ranking.

Speaking at the commemoration of World Press Freedom Day in Koforidua on Friday, Albert Dwumfuor averred that the fluctuating power supply, also known as “dumsor,” is affecting the performance of media houses and, in turn, Ghana’s position in the World Press Freedom Index.

“Reports suggest damage to broadcast equipment as a result of the erratic power outages. Media houses now have to grapple with the procurement of expensive generators at a time when fuel prices are skyrocketing,” Dwumfuor said.

He noted that the introduction of economic indicators in the computation of the index has further impacted Ghana’s performance, as the financial strain on media outlets can affect their ability to operate effectively and freely.

“We want to add our voice to the numerous calls on the Electricity Company of Ghana to provide a timetable on electricity supply to save media houses from economic losses that would ultimately affect the press freedom ranking of the country,” said Dwumfuor.

Meanwhile, Ghana has improved its position in the 2024 World Press Freedom Index, climbing from 62nd in 2023 to 50th place, according to the President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Albert Kwabena Dwumfuor.

Last year, Ghana saw a decline in its ranking on the annual Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) for the second consecutive year.

The country slipped from 60th place last year to 62nd in 2023, marking its worst performance in 18 years since it was ranked 66th in 2005.

Albert Dwumfuor attributed the 2024 success to “The aggressive actions of the GJA to defend journalistic freedom have been instrumental in our rise in the rankings”.

He highlighted the blacklisting of political figures whose supporters attacked journalists and media outlets as one of the key strategies that contributed to the improvement.

Albert Dwumfuor stressed that challenges remain, including recent attacks on journalists and media outlets such as the petrol bomb attack on Class FM.

He condemned the attack describing it as an act of terrorism.

“That was clearly a terrorist act, and it’s a shame Ghana is fast degenerating into such a culture of barbarism,” he stated. “The GJA unreservedly condemns these attacks and calls on the Ghana Police Service to expedite investigations and prosecute the perpetrators.”

Despite these challenges, the GJA is committed to using journalism to address environmental issues like illegal mining, sanitation, and climate change.

This aligns with the global theme of World Press Freedom Day 2024, “Press for the Planet: Journalism in the face of the environmental crisis.”

“The GJA seeks to lead a strong media campaign for the protection of the environment and the good of the country,” said Dwumfuor. He encouraged other journalists to join the fight against illegal small-scale mining, known as ‘galamsey,’ and focus on other environmental issues.

Mr. Albert Dwumfuor said GJA is working on initiatives with key institutions such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and called for further collaboration with stakeholders and security agencies. “Our collective action yielded positive results in the past, and we aim to continue that momentum,” Dwumfuor added.

Source: Ghana/ Ansah