Dr Clement Apaak, Member of Parliament (MP) for Builsa South, has accused the ruling New Patriotic Party, NPP government under the leadership of Nana Akufo-Addo for suppressing the press freedom.
According to him, since Akufo Addo assumed office, the Ghanaian media ranking on the international ladder kept shrinking and terrible such that, some of them have to seek hideout or flee outside the country for their life's.
The country has lost its status as Africa’s best ranked country in the World Press Freedom Index which is compiled annually by Reporters without Boarders (RWB) which evaluates the state of journalism in 180 countries.
Ghana’s ranking on press freedom in Africa reduced to 3rd this year, from 1st last year. It also dropped four points in the latest ranking in the 2019 World Press Freedom Index, as it moved from the rank of 23 to 27 from the previous year.
The global index shows that the murder of investigative journalist Ahmed Hussein Suale and other assaults on journalists had a major blow to the country’s press freedom.
But Speaking to Modernghana on the recent unfolding events in the media front, Dr Apaak who is also a former member on the National Media Commission Board said, the current government intolerance on opposing views, including media scrutiny is nauseating.
He noted that, even though president Akufo-Addo, then Attorney General contributed immensely to the repeal of the criminal libel law, he has done nothing under his own administration to safeguard the lives of Journalists.
“I think the current government,especially President Akufo Addo should take the blame. The President and his appointees have been so intolerance such that, his men will go after you when you expose them of any wrongdoing.
"When you have a situation where you have a government that looks at its history of predecessors and claims made that they are the best of democracy, the prepotency of rule of law, promoters of freedom and speech and we have the current president whose rise to glory also includes the fact that he is deemed to have led the effort to repeal the criminal liable law , superintending over what we are seeing today, then it gives room for worry”, he added.
The Builsa South lawmaker who is the Deputy Ranking on Education Committee of Parliament expressed worry about how press freedom has come under siege in the past few years under the current government.
He cited the murder of Ahmed Suale and the attacks on the Bolgatanga residence of Edward Adeti, Starr FM’s Upper East regional correspondent, few days after his investigation led to the resignation of Mr Rockson Ayine Bukari, a Minister of state.
“ I will not even go far, just few days ago we all wake up to hear that Edward Adeti of Starr FM, has been raided by armed robbers. what is his crime? He did his work, he uncovered some work that was being done by some Chinese, he was going to expose that from the tapes that have come to the public domain, the minister of state at the office of the president, tried to negotiate an arrangement, a bribe for the journalist to drop the story,” Dr Apaak stated.
He accused government of been unsympathetic to Journalists for remaining in silent at the time Journalists lives are been endangered in the country.
The MP added that when you follow the trajectory since the NPP assumed the reign of governance of this country, one would conclude that," the current government is the most intolerant," adding that, is a shame as Ghana cannot boast of press freedom on the continent.
Dr Apaak however urged that journalists be given fair treatment without any forms of abuse in their line of duty, stating “Journalists are also Ghanaian, you have a role to play and I think politicians,especially public office holders have a responsibility to tolerate and appreciate no matter circumstance."