The Minister of Information-designate, Fatimatu Abubakar, has attributed Ghana’s significant jump in the 2024 World Press Freedom Index, moving from 62nd to 50th position, to a series of interventions implemented by the government, particularly during the tenure of her predecessor, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, where she served as the Deputy Minister.

The ranking, compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in 180 countries across the world, saw Ghana move 12 places to its 50th position after two consecutive years of decline.

In an interview on Accra-based Joy FM, the Minister of Information-designate stated that this achievement was a result of the tireless efforts put in by the government through the Ministry of Information under the leadership of the former Minister of Information.

She expressed pride to have served as his deputy during this crucial period.”

One such initiative credited with the rise in ranking, she explained, is the Media Capacity Enhancement Programme (MCEP). Established in 2021 by the Ministry of Information, the MCEP addresses the crucial need for upskilling journalists across the country.

“The MCEP recognized the importance of equipping our journalists with the necessary tools and knowledge to excel in their profession. Through a comprehensive needs assessment and curriculum development process, the programme has provided training to over 400 journalists so far,” she indicated.

Another vital programme championed by the previous administration is the Coordinated Mechanism for the Safety of Journalists (CMSJ). Launched in May 2021, the CMSJ tackles the critical issue of journalist safety, a concern previously highlighted in press freedom reports.

“The safety of journalists is paramount for a free and independent press,” she emphasised . “The CMSJ works collaboratively with various stakeholders to create a safe and conducive environment for journalists to operate”

The CMSJ, she explained, also fosters dialogue and collaboration between media practitioners, government agencies and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). This multi-pronged approach aims to create a media landscape where journalists can work freely without fear of intimidation or violence.

She acknowledged the ongoing nature of these efforts, noting that the improvement in Ghana’s ranking is certainly encouraging, but there’s always room for further progress.

She reaffirmed the government’s commitment to working with all stakeholders to build upon these successes, and ensure Ghana continues to be a beacon of press freedom in Africa.

For his part, the President of Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Albert Kwabena Dwumfuor, applauded the ranking, stressing that the safer and more empowered media environment belatedly being experienced in the industry is the reason behind it.

“The MCEP and CMSJ represent significant steps forward for Ghanaian journalism. Equipping journalists with the necessary skills and ensuring their safety are crucial for a robust and independent media,” he added.