Developments in the media landscape under the current administration have been described as very frightening.
Dean of Communication Studies at Wisconsin University, Professor Kwame Karikari, who made the observation indicated that press freedom is facing serious recession under the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo presidency.
This, he said, is quite disturbing especially with critical roles President Akufo-Addo has played to advance freedom of expression in Ghana.
He urged the President to therefore re-emphasize his stand as an advocate of press freedom.
The communications professor argued President Akufo-Addo is a man he has always respected in the area of human rights, rule of law and in good governance.
Speaking on Joy News’ current affairs programme, PM Express, with Evans Mensah, he stressed the President has played very critical roles in advancing press freedom in Ghana.
He said, “He has been the main proponent, as Attorney General, in the legislation to reform or repeal the criminal libel and seditious libel laws.”
“Now as President, he has also done the remarkable job of getting the Rights to Information Law passed when all previous governments had pooh-poohed it and had really not cared much about it.”
“So I still believe that this man still believes in press freedom. He still believes in human rights both in public and in private,” he stated.
Professor Karikari, former Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), recollected when he worked together with Nana Akufo-Addo in the early 1990s struggling for press freedom.
“We set up an organization called ‘Friends of Freedom of Express and Nana Akufo-Addo was a very active member of this advocacy organization made of journalists, academics and so forth.”
“We were working for the freedom of Kwaku Bako, Haruna Atta and others who were being incarcerated left and right.”
He said, “So I believe that this man still believes in press freedom. He still believes in human rights both in public and in private.”
Professor Karikari expressed surprise that Ghana’s ranking on the World Press Freedom index has dipped and argued his own assessment of President Akufo-Addo’s private sentiments and public expressions suggests he still believes in press freedom.
He averred that to therefore see journalists mounting campaign for press freedom under the Akufo-Addo presidency calls for deeper reflection and a need to demand answers from the President.
“He must come out boldly and make a statement – reinforce the statement he’s been making all his life about these freedoms,” he stated.
Prof Karikari described incidents of arbitrary arrests, detention and torture of journalists, attacks on media houses, and murder of Tiger PI investigative journalist, Ahmed Suale as very frightening.
He said, “Some of the developments under this particular government make us quite frightened because some are very new in our politics, like the assignation of the Anas’ second-hand man. “