Africa Still Trails In Freedom Of Press

  • 22,Jan 2019 03:04 AM
  • By Iwedi Ojinmah

At the turn of the 21st century, nearly half of the world population still lacks access to free information.

Deprived of knowledge that is essential for managing their lives, denied their very existence, they are prevented from living in pluralist political systems in which factual truth serves as the basis for individual and collective choices.

Reporters without borders the Worlddwide think tank with Headquarters in Paris which  tracks violence against reporters has just released its figure for 2018 and they are bleak.

A total of 80 journalists were killed this year, 348 are currently in prison, and 60 are being held hostage, according to the annual worldwide round-up of deadly violence and abusive treatment of journalists, which shows an unprecedented level of hostility towards media personnel.

Africa did not do very well. There is a clear disparity in freedom of information which exists between the countries in Africa. Senegal enjoys its lively newspapers whereas Eritrea’s privately-owned media was silenced long ago. After a wave of liberalization in the 1990s, press freedom violations are now only too common. They include arbitrary censorship, especially on the Internet (by means of ad hoc Internet cuts in some countries), arrests of journalists, often on the grounds of combating terrorism, and acts of violence against media personnel that often go completely unpunished. The financial weakness of many media outlets makes them susceptible.

Ghana despite the recent murder of investigative reporter Ahmed Hussein-Suale remains at the top of the continent with a ranking of 23.

Other notables from the same region are;
South Africa 28
Senegal 50.
Ivory Coast 82
Ethiopia 150
Nigeria 119
Cameroon 129
Egypt 161

Meanwhile, worldwide Norway, Sweden, Holland, Finland, Switzerland, Jamaica, Belgium, New Zealand, Denmark, and Costa Rica round out the 10 best countries where freedom of speech reigns.

In conclusion, the UK was ranked at 40, the US at 45, Russia at 148 and China at 176.


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