2020 World Press Freedom Index: Ghana tops all West African countries with the highest press freedom.
Ghana has once again been ranked as the only West African country with the highest level of press freedom among the top 30 countries in the world in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index report released by Reporters Without Borders. Namibia and Cape Verde were also among the top 30 countries, with Namibia ranked at 23 and Cape Verde at 25.
Among all the covered 180 countries, Norway was ranked as number 1 country with the highest of press freedom.
Although Ghana has dropped 3 steps from last year’s 27th position to 30 in the latest ranking released by the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) for the year 2020, it tops all West African countries in terms of the freedom that journalists have in carrying out their duties.
The 2020 World Press Freedom Index published every year by Reporters Without Borders ranks 180 countries and regions according to the level of freedom available to journalists and other media persons.
According to the publishers, the 2020 Index, shows that the coming decade will be decisive for the future of journalism, with the COVID-19 pandemic highlighting and amplifying the many crises that threaten the right to freely report, independent, diverse and reliable information.
RSF, notes that the 2020 edition of the Index, which evaluates the situation for journalists each year in 180 countries and territories, suggests that the next ten years will be pivotal for press freedom because of converging crises affecting the future of journalism: a geopolitical crisis (due to the aggressiveness of authoritarian regimes); a technological crisis (due to a lack of democratic guarantees); a democratic crisis (due to polarisation and repressive policies); a crisis of trust (due to suspicion and even hatred of the media); and an economic crisis (impoverishing quality journalism).
These five areas of crisis – the effects of which the Index’s methodology allows RSF to evaluate – are now compounded by a global public health crisis, the group stated.
Commenting, Christophe Deloire, the RSF Secretary-General said: “We are entering a decisive decade for journalism linked to crises that affect its future.
“The coronavirus pandemic illustrates the negative factors threatening the right to reliable information, and is itself an exacerbating factor. What will freedom of information, pluralism and reliability look like in 2030? The answer to that question is being determined today,” he said.
RSF argues that there is a clear correlation between suppression of media freedom in response to the coronavirus pandemic and a country’s ranking in the Index.
The report noted that both China (177th) and Iran (down 3 at 173rd) censored their major coronavirus outbreaks extensively.
In Iraq (down 6 at 162nd), the authorities stripped Reuters of its license for three months after it published a story questioning official coronavirus figures.
Even in Europe, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán of Hungary (down 2 at 89th), had a “coronavirus” law passed with penalties of up to five years in prison for false information, a completely disproportionate and coercive measure.
“The public health crisis provides authoritarian governments with an opportunity to implement the notorious “shock doctrine” – to take advantage of the fact that politics are on hold, the public is stunned and protests are out of the question, in order to impose measures that would be impossible in normal times,” Deloire said, adding, “For this decisive decade to not be a disastrous one, people of goodwill, whoever they are, must campaign for journalists to be able to fulfill their role as society’s trusted third parties, which means they must have the capacity to do so.”
–: Report from Reporters Without Borders