The 2017 World Press Freedom Index has commended Ghana as a country that promotes media pluralism and its independence. The report made reference to the December 2016 General Elections where the country’s freedom of expression and independence of the press were put to test and extoled Ghana for recording no major incidents or media freedom violations then.
According to the report, this was largely due to the extensive use of mobile phones on which large volumes of news and information were circulated during the time.
Ghana however maintained its 26th position from last year’s index out of 180 countries globally scored for their level of media freedom from January 1st to December 31st 2016.
All in all, the index regrettably reports a growing trend of violations of press freedom globally which is subsequently creating a world where attacks on the media have become commonplace.
As the world marks World Press Freedom Day 2017 this month on the theme “Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies”, the fight for an independent media has never been more urgent. Original, critical, and well-researched journalism is perhaps needed more today than ever before
Media’s contribution to good governance and development has been recognized in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the 193 member states of the United Nations in September 2015 but it will take a rather strong obligation from all for this to become realistic and not only remain on paper.
Only when media are free, independent and pluralistic can they ensure that the rule of law is applied and respected in full. Journalists are not only major users of the cherished right to freedom of expression but also symbols of the extent to which a society tolerates and/or promotes freedom of expression.