The President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Albert Kwabena Dwumfuor, is hopeful Ghana’s performance on the World Press Freedom index will improve in the latest report expected to be released today despite recent attacks on journalists.

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.

Despite the drop in global ranking, Ghana’s position among African countries improved, climbing to 9th place from 10th in the previous report.

However, Ghana still ranked below countries such as Namibia (22), South Africa (25), Cabo Verde (33), Seychelles (34), the Gambia (46), Ivory Coast (54), Burkina Faso (58), and Niger (61).

The World Press Freedom Index evaluates 180 countries and five regions, considering factors such as pluralism, media independence, the strength of legislative frameworks, and the safety of journalists.

Addressing the media in Koforidua on Thursday ahead of World Press Freedom Day, Albert Dwumfuor acknowledged the challenges facing the media in Ghana and the need to protect press freedom.

“We have often said that an attack on the media is an attack on democracy,” Dwumfuor stated. “So it is going to be a test on our democracy as we await the release of the current world press freedom index. For the past three years, Ghana has been sinking in this ranking. We are hopeful that tomorrow, the story will be different regardless of the barbaric attacks on the media over the past few months.”

The GJA President expressed concern over the increase in attacks on journalists, citing that “last year, in a span of about eight months, we recorded about nine attacks on the media. This year, only January alone recorded about three attacks. This is something which is very worrying.”

In response to these attacks, Albert Dwumfuor emphasized recent radical measures taken by the GJA to safeguard journalists.

“We have taken some radical decisions to even blacklist some dishonorable MPs and politicians because we want to end impunity against journalists. We want journalists to be able to discharge their duties without fear and intimidation,” he explained.

“We want journalists to go about their work without any kind of tension. We want to create an enabling environment for journalists to thrive. “

The Eastern Region is set to host the national commemoration of World Press Freedom Day on May 3, 2024, in Koforidua.

The event will take place at the Abba Bentil Theatre at the Koforidua Technical University (KTU) and will focus on the theme: “Leveraging journalism for a sustainable environment and future.”

The commemoration will attract members of the national executive, the diplomatic corps, UNESCO officials, government representatives, civil society organizations, students from the Eastern Region, professional associations, and academia.

World Press Freedom Day is celebrated globally on May 3 each year, recognizing the fundamental principles of press freedom, evaluating its status worldwide, and paying tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

As part of the day’s events, there will be a training session on disinformation and the impact of AI on ethical journalism for 30 selected journalists in the region at 1:00 pm.

Source: Ghana/ Ansah