Managing Editor of the Daily Dispatch, Mr Ben Ephson who has over 48 years of experience in practicing journalism, has said the height of media censorship in Ghana was the period when a president could use the Provisions National Defense Council (PNDC) Law 3 to detain journalists and other persons at his own pleasure.
He said this while reacting to Ghana’s woeful performance in the latest press freedom ranking, in interview with TV3 on Wednesday May 4.
The pollster said “I think that there are people in the media who are reckless. The fact that you have access to the media platform does not mean you should insult somebody’s father that he is a thief.
“I have done this job for 48 years, from 1974. We lived under a military government that the Head of State per PNDC law 3, can detain anybody at his own pleasure. That was the peak of media censorship,” he said.
Ghana has performed poorly in press freedom ranking, dropping 30 places from 2021 to rank 60th on World Press Freedom Index 2022 with a score of 67.43.
The report cited government’s intolerance, a situation that forced journalists to engage in heavy self-censorship in the line with their work.
“Although the country is considered a regional leader in democratic stability, journalists have experienced growing pressures in recent years. To protect their jobs and their security, they increasingly resort to self-censorship, as the government shows itself intolerant of criticism,” the World Press Freedom indicated in its latest ranking released May 3,2022.
It added: “The 2019 information access law authorises journalists to demand information of national interest. However, a clause in the law allows a fee to be charged if the information requested is in a language other than English – a provision used to deny journalists’ access to the information they seek”
“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. In Ghana, most media outlets face financial problems, reflected in low salaries and poor working conditions for journalists. Frequently, new newspapers are launched only to fold in a few months, due to inability to meet production costs.
“State-owned media, for their part, benefit from government advertising contracts and payment for publishing news items. Government advertising is awarded through a non-transparent and inequitable process”.
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana