The President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Mr. Roland Affail Monney has lamented over Ghana’s drop from 30th to 60th position in the World Press Freedom ranking. He made this known yesterday at the World Press Freedom celebration, under the theme: “Journalism under digital siege,” in Accra.
According to Mr Affail Monney, the drop in ranking had been anticipated due to a confluence of anti-media factors. He added that, “never did we expect the drop to be so precipitous- from 3rd in Africa to 10th, and 30th in the world to 60th – a 100 per cent decline.”
The GJA president bemoaned that the attacks and disregard for the rights of a number of journalists in the line of duty is the determined the outcome of the safety of journalists.
“Death threats rained on investigative journalists also went uninvestigated, let alone punished, while law enforcement officers who were supposed to protect journalists rather brutalised them,” he added.
He disclosed that, “the Global Press Freedom report does not spell perpetual doom and gloom, neither does it sentence Ghana to an irreversible situation. It still recognises Ghana as a regional pillar of democratic stability.”
The deputy Information Minister, Madam Fatimatu Abubakar also disclosed in her address that the work of the journalist gives voice to the voiceless, exposes injustice and holds leaders accountable in all spheres.
She, however,observed that misinformation and disinformation has become widespread with many actors spooning false narrative and inaccuracies.
Multiple digital or online information sharing and social media platforms have created an environment where direct attacks are heaped on individual freedom of speech, according to the minister.
The deputy minister again disclosed that government was putting necessary steps in place, including taking inputs from technocrats and industry experts to facilitate the passage of the Broadcasting Bill.
The Broadcasting Bill, when passed into law, will help regulators in Ghana’s media space to deal with the issue of spiritualists, money doublers and fraudsters who advertise their activities on television.
The Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), Mr Yaw Boadu Ayeboafo, urged journalists to discharge their responsibilities in the right way it has to be discharged so that journalists could be described as credible.
He noted that regardless of the fact that the constitution states that free speech should not be criminalized, individuals who abuse free speech must not be left to go scot free.
He further added that, the rule of law must be applied in dealing with individuals who abuse free speech and not rather resort to the use of physical force.
Also, he noted that credibility is in the heart of journalists and as such there is the need for journalists to produce credible information when they report their stories.
He further added that journalists should make themselves useful in the society with emphasis on the fact that even though there is the presence of digitalization, journalists should not work under the influence of digitalization.