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Elizabeth Ohene takes on Barker-Vormawor, MFWA in latest address to the BBC

Veteran journalist Elizabeth Ohene

Sun, 1 May 2022 Source:

Oliver Barker-Vormawor makes fresh ‘coup’ statement

BBC alleges clampdown on press freedom in Ghana

Elizabeth Ohene writes on BBC report

A former Minister of State in charge of tertiary education, Elizabeth Ohene, has issued a strong-worded criticism of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) over its assessment of Ghana’s free speech regime.

Elizabeth Ohene in her latest epistle, questioned the editorial decision of the BBC as well as their neutrality in undertaking a research on Ghana.

The veteran journalist who worked with the BBC for fourteen years questioned why the media house would measure Ghana’s press freedom state with Oliver Barker-Vormawor’s brushes with the law as the metric.

According to her, the BBC did a shoddy job by not probing the various aspects of the story and just relying on the fact that he was arrested for his activism.

She posited that a background check of Oliver Barker-Vormawor would have brought to the fore the fact that he allegedly worked at the Jubilee House under the Mahama government and might be doing the bidding of the opposition.

“We do not expect that the BBC would only defend journalists and programmes from other jurisdictions that meet its own standards.

“But when the BBC starts a programme that purports to be about Ghana’s free speech being under attack, with a man whose claim to fame seems to be how scurrilous he can be about his opponents, who makes no attempt to be factual and who uses the most obscene language to describe Ghana’s First Lady at every opportunity, I have to wonder about the BBC.

“Have the editors of the programme determined that this is a journalist, doing a professional job who is being muzzled and attacked?” she questioned.

Elizabeth Ohene also expressed reservations about the BBC’s reliance on Media Foundation for West Africa for its assessment of the extent to which the work of media is being infringed by the state.

“I am very sorry to have to say that I am not impressed with your reliance on the West African Media Foundation. Unfortunately, they are no longer in my estimation, in a position to offer unbiased opinions on this government. Nothing wrong with such a position, just as long as it is labelled as such,” she stated.

The BBC in its report indicated that there are some state-sponsored attacks on free speech in Ghana with the ill-treatment of some media personalities mentioned.

The BBC said, “critics say freedom of speech is under serious threat” in Ghana as a result of the few incidents.

The BBC’s report stated, “since the start of 2022 a handful of prominent journalists and social media influencers have been detained,” a situation the report suggested was not the case until recently.


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