Mr Mahama, in a statement to mark World Press Freedom Day recently, quoted Reporters Without Borders as having said that Ghana became the country with the highest levels of press freedom in Africa during his presidency.
“At the time, we were ranked number one out of 54 countries in Africa. We placed 23rd on the global ranking among 180 countries”.
“Three-and-a-half years later, we have slumped seven places on the global ranking and lost the number one spot in Africa to Namibia and Cape Verde. We have unfortunately lost this priceless status that made all of us very proud. This should worry us – not only journalists and media owners but all of us, as citizens and as Ghanaians.
“As I said, when the freedom of the press is curtailed, democracy suffers. And all the other human rights that anchor our dignity as human beings are eroded. Without freedom, our dignity is trampled. This is why we need a free press as much as we need fresh air to breathe. So, let us all protect the freedom of the press.
“Let us condemn the killing of journalists like Ahmed Suale, as well as the harassment of Manasseh Azure and Edward Adeti.
“Let us rise up and speak against the dictatorial withdrawal of radio frequencies and closure of radio stations by the government of Nana Akufo-Addo. Let us remind and demand of government to stop paying lip service to the Right to Information Act. Let’s encourage, cherish and always expand the frontiers of Freedom of the Press in this digital world. We owe it to our great and hardworking journalists – but, first and foremost, we owe it to ourselves. I celebrate the men and women of the press in Ghana and across the globe. The threat of COVID-19 has not daunted your undying spirits. The pandemic has not prevented you from going at great, and sometimes risky lengths to bring us the stories”, Mr Mahama said in his statement.
But reacting to these claims in a Facebook post, the Executive Director of the MFWA Mr Sulemana Braimah said: “President Mahama was given wrong ‘apor’ on Ghana’s press freedom rankings. His claims were false.”