Mahama Fact-Checked: Ghana was not number one African country in Press Freedom

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Claims by former President John Dramani Mahama that Ghana was ranked the number one country with press freedom in Africa during his tenure are inaccurate according to checks by ghanaweb.com.

The former President stated categorically in a video he released on Sunday to mark World Press Freedom Day that Ghana was ranked number one during his tenure as President of Ghana between 2012 and 2016.

“During my tenure as President of Ghana, we became the country with the highest levels of press freedom in Africa. At the time, we were ranked number one out of 54 countries in Africa. We also placed 28 in the global ranking among 180 countries. Three and half years later, we have slumped seven places on the global ranking and lost the number slot in Africa to Namibia, and Cape Verde,” John Mahama stated in his video message.

Verification

But his claim has turned out to be false as records of Press Freedom rankings in Africa from 2012 when he was President to January 2017 never placed Ghana as number one on the African continent as he claimed.

However, Ghana’s worst performance was in 2013 when his administration took office where it ranked 30 and its best was in 2015 ranking 22 according to checks by GhanaWeb.

For the period of John Mahama’s tenure, Ghana in the world rankings placed 41st in 2012, 30th in 2013, 27th in 2014, 22nd in 2015 and then 26th in 2016.

In 2012 when John Mahama succeeded the John Evans Atta Mills as Acting President, Ghana was ranked 6th in Africa behind Zambia on the press freedom rankings.

And throughout John Mahama’s tenure as President, Namibia was ranked number one in Africa in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively.

Presently in the 2019 rankings, Ghana is ranked second in Africa after Namibia which was adjudged Africa’s freest country for journalists.

Following that, Ghana has since dropped three places from its 27th position in 2019 to 30th in 2020, on the latest World Press Freedom Index.

Released by Reporters without Borders (RSF), an international non-profit organisation, the report, for instance, singled out the gruesome murder of Tiger Eye PI journalist Ahmed Suale, whose assailants are still on the loose more than a year after his death and a number of attacks on journalists.

Conclusion

Mr. John Mahama’s claim that Ghana has ranked number one in Africa for his tenure as president from 2012 to 2016 in the Press Freedom ranking is rather inaccurate.

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