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Former President John Dramani Mahama has accused President Akufo-Addo of destroying the hard-earned image and reputation of Ghana on the international front with the recent spate of attacks on journalists in the country.
According to Mahama, the growing incident of threats and attacks on journalists and media organisations by the current government is worrying because it is gradually putting the country in the drains.
Condemning the Akufo-Addo-led government for jeopardizing the freedom of journalists in the country, Mahama said the NPP’s constant attacks on journalists has made Ghana lose its status as Africa’s best-ranked country as far as press freedom is concerned.
The former president whose speech was read by the National Chairman of the National Democratic Congress, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo at the wreath-laying ceremony held in honour of the late Prof. Evans Atta Mills said “We are gathered here at a time when our commitment as a nation to fairness and transparency in government is wavering, as to the right and duty of Ghanaians to criticize their leaders on those grounds”.
“The culture of silence that is fast enveloping our country attests to a growing intolerance for dissent and critical opinions. It stands in stark contrast to the practice of freedom and justice that Professor Mills sought to consolidate under his leadership, and which I so effortlessly exemplified after taking over from him”.
“Ghana’s hard-won global reputation for media freedom has been badly dented under President Nana Akufo-Addo. We have seen it tarnished by denunciations of the press, threats and instigations against journalists, selective and forcible shutdown of FM stations perceived to be critical of government among others”, he noted.
Ghana has dropped four points in the latest ranking in the 2019 World Press Freedom Index from 23 to 27 from the previous year.
To make matters worse, Ghana has also lost its status as Africa’s best-ranked country in the World Press Freedom Index, compiled annually by Reporters Without Borders (RWB) which evaluates the state of journalism in 180 countries.
Recent attacks on media practitioners has prompted the launch of a campaign to defend the Constitutional rights of journalists.
There have been arbitrary arrests and detention, attacks on media houses, torture, seizure and destruction of media equipment since 2017.
Reacting to this whilst eulogising the late Prof. Atta Mills, former President Mahama said “President Mills believed in the rule of law, and respected the primacy and interests of the Ghanaian people. He supported the integrity and independence of our national institutions. He was empathetic and kind, and measured success by the welfare of the least among us”.
“Professor Mills placed principles over partisanship, and above political advantage. He believed that the promise of tomorrow should not be derailed by the sins of yesterday and by its vengeances. He eschewed avarice, and led by the example of his uncommon humility and simplicity. His graciousness extended even to those who vilified and maligned him, and he wore their respect as a medal of honour”.
“At this time in our nation’s history, the qualities of President Mills’ leadership and the tenets of his personal morality take on a new lustre. Professor Mills’ life and leadership have never been more relevant. The quality of the man and the clarity of his principles remind us of what leadership could be- and what all faithful Ghanaians desire that it should be- a gold standard for civic conduct, for fairness, for personal accountability, and for moral courage in which people might find guidance and from which they may draw strength”, he added.
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