The 2018 World Press Freedom Index reports Ghana has the best atmosphere for media personnel in Africa.
Ghana dethroned Namibia who topped in last year’s ranking.
Globally, Ghana placed 23rd out of 180 countries on this year’s list. The country is regarded as one of the most democratic countries in Africa and Chapter 12 of its 1992 constitution guarantees media pluralism and independence.
Eritrea came in at 179th , Africa’s worst placement. For the past 26 years, Eritrea has been a dictatorship in which there is no room for freely reported news and information. At least 11 journalists are currently detained without being charged or tried.
Sudan, Egypt, Burundi, Equatorial Guinea, Djibouti and Somalia were among several other African nations that placed near the bottom the list.
The ranking, published annually by Reporters Without Borders since 2002, is used to measure the level of media freedom in 180 countries including the level of pluralism, media independence and respect for the safety and freedom of journalists
The report goes on to say that only a very small number of media outlets provide good news coverage. A third of the media are owned by the state or by businessmen linked to the government.
The lack of transparency that characterizes the media industry is compounded by a flawed regulatory system that tends to limit the freedom to inform. Thanks to extensive use of mobile phones, a great deal of news and information circulates online.
Criminal code provisions penalizing “false news” are sometimes abused in order to harass journalists but journalists are rarely arrested or imprisoned.