Ghana loses status as Africa’s best in 2019 Press Freedom Index after Ahmed Suale murder

Ghana is no longer Africa’s best-ranked country in the World Press Freedom Index following the murder of an investigative journalist with Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ Tiger Eye PI.

Late journalist, Ahmed Suale

In the 2019 Press Freedom Index, Ghana dropped from 23 to 27 in the world and from number one to number three in Africa.

Namibia rose to 23 in the world, becoming Africa’s best-ranked country.

According to the latest ranking by Reporters Without Borders, a “group of investigative journalists had to spend part of 2018 in hiding after producing a documentary about Ghanaian soccer corruption.”

Reporters Without Borders expressed shock over the threats on the life of Anas ahead of his exposé on corruption in Ghana football in July 2018.

This was after the Ghana Journalists Association’s (GJA) call for 24-hour protection for Anas.

However, on January 16, 2019, one Anas’ men was shot dead near his family home at Madina in Accra.

Even though speculations have not been confirmed, it is believed that he was killed because of his work.

Police investigation is still ongoing.

Aside from the killing, there have also been instances where journalists have been assaulted by security personnel, both state and private, during their assignments.

“Journalists are rarely arrested but several were attacked with impunity in 2018, in some cases by police officers,” the report noted.

Despite these instances, Reporters Without Borders acknowledged that Ghana continues to be seen as one of the most democratic countries in Africa but also noted that “a third of the media is owned by the state or by businessmen linked to the government.”

Sub-Saharan Africa, in general, faced a decline in press freedom “with hatred towards journalists, attacks on investigative reporters, censorship and economic and judicial harassment all undermined independent reporting and quality journalism in a continent where press freedom saw significant changes in 2018.”

Like in 2017, the situation in 22 of sub-Saharan Africa’s 48 countries “is classified as either “bad” or “very bad”.”

Per the report, the number of countries regarded as safe, “where journalists can work in complete security, continues to decline, while authoritarian regimes continue to tighten their grip on the media.”

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