Ghana’s Press Freedom Ranking – Mahama’s Claim Completely False

In commemoration of the World Press Freedom Day Celebrations on May 3, 2020, former President John Dramani Maham delivered a speech through his social media pages. In the speech, Mr Mahama made a claim about Ghana’s ranking in the annual press freedom index by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) during his tenure as President of Ghana. The claim has been verified and below is the verdict and explanation.

Claim: “According to Reporters Without Borders, 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 were also placed 23rd in the global ranking among 180 countries.”

Verdict: Completely False

Explanation: The Press Freedom Index is a ranking of countries compiled and published annually by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) based on the assessment of the countries’ press freedom records. Mr. John Mahama served as President of Ghana in the years 2013 to 2016. Below are the rankings of Ghana in those years according to the RSF.

Year Ranking in Africa Ranking in the World
2013 3rd 30th
2014 3rd 27th
2015 2nd 22nd
2016 2nd 26th

Source: rsf.org

From the record above, Ghana did not rank number one in Africa in any of the years that Mr. Mahama was President. Ghana did not also place 23rd globally in any of those years as he claimed even though the country placed 22nd in 2015. Indeed, Ghana’s global ranking for 2020 (30th) is the same as that of 2013, which was Mr. Mahama’s first year in office. The ranking for 2019 (27th) is also the same as that of 2014 (President Mahama’s second year in office).

The only year Ghana topped Africa since 2013, was 2018, when the country also ranked 23rd in the world.

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