President of the Ghana Journalist Association, Affail Monney has expressed worry once again over the constant deterioration of press freedom in the country over the past few years.
According to him, the gruesome murder of Tiger PI journalist Ahmed Suale, coupled with a litany of attacks launched on some media personalities have created an apparent state of insecurity for the practice of journalism in the country.
Referencing the recent Global Press Freedom ranking which depicted a major fall in Ghana’s position, he cited Ahmed Suale’s murder and the several attacks as the cause of the decline.
“…We’ve come a long way in terms of press freedom and the empirical evidence is the rankings by Reporters Without Borders. Last year we were perching on top of the league table of free media systems in Africa. We were first in Africa and 23rd globally, but because of the litany of attacks which were headlined by the assassination in the most tragic circumstances of Ahmed Suale, we lost our first position…and from 23rd globally to 27th…,” Mr. Monney asserted.
In January this year, Ahmed Suale was murdered in his vehicle by some unidentified men. He was shot twice in the chest and once in the neck. Even though investigative bodies have taken charge and are yet to unravel the cause and the persons behind the murder, Ghanaians have criticized the slow pace at which the investigations are being carried out.
The gruesome act, in Mr. Monney’s reflection, has eroded the value of journalism in the country.
“…there’s been a decline in press freedom in Ghana and some hold contrary views but from where I sit and the position I occupy, all is not well with the media environment…we have press freedom but the press freedom is on the decline,” he stated.
But reacting to the President’s comments on the issue, he expressed faith in the investigative bodies in bringing the perpetrators to book.
“…We heard the president assuring the nation that the killers of Ahmed Suale will be found. This is so refreshing…” he added.
Meanwhile, the president at the Ghana Bar Association Conference in Takoradi emphatically stated that his government has made remarkable progress in enhancing media freedom in the country.
“In my time as President, the Right to Information Act, whose passage had, hitherto, become a taboo, was finally enacted by Parliament. My attachment to the vital nature of freedom of expression in promoting national progress and security has not changed since I became President,” he said.
But recent series of assaults involving media persons somewhat prove otherwise.
Below are some of the very recent instances;
The attack on four reporters by security officers of the ruling New Patriotic Party at the party's headquarters in Accra, Soldiers' assault on a freelance journalist, Kendrick Offei, the attack on a reporter by a body guard of former President John Mahama.
Other series of attacks were launched on GBC reporter, Yahyah Kwamoah by presidential staffer Stan Dogbe, Joy News reporter, Latif Idrissu by the some Police officers, and another on some Ghanaian Times reporters by police officers.