The 2022 Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Press Freedom Index has tagged the Akufo-Addo administration as intolerant of criticism from citizens and the media.
The report which monitors situations of press freedom globally noted that journalists in the country have in recent years experienced “growing pressures” from the government in their line of duty.
According to the report, this has led journalists in the country to “increasingly resort to self-censorship” in order to protect their jobs and security.
“In addition, one-third of media outlets are owned by politicians or by people tied to the top political parties. The content they produce is largely partisan,” portions of the report stated.
RSF also cited the clause in the Right to Information law that allows a fee to be charged for the information requested in other languages than English as a “provision used to deny journalists’ access to the information they seek.”
The Paris-based non-profit organisation founded by journalists to promote freedom of information in the world said the safety of journalists’ has sharply deteriorated in recent years adding that nearly all cases of law enforcement officers attacking journalists are not pursued.
Meanwhile, the latest World Press Freedom report saw the country drop 30 places out of 180 countries with a score of 67.43, the worst in 17 years.
The RSF in its report described the press freedom situation in the country as problematic. The country’s counterparts, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso in the latest report placed 37th and 41st respectively with a score of 74.46 and 73.12 respectively.
Recently, a number of journalists were arrested by the police for various offences.
On February 10, 2022, an Accra FM presenter, Kwabena Bobbie Ansah was arrested on a charge of “publication of false news and offensive conduct” for posting a video on social media, claiming the First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, had allegedly obtained state land in order to build the headquarters for a foundation.
This claim was false, the Police investigation said.
Godsbrain Smart of Onua TV was also arrested for an alleged case of extortion, although some have claimed it has to do with his fierce criticisms of the government.