The 2024 World Press Freedom Index – Ghana’s Performance

press freedom

Today is World Press Freedom Day. It’s also the day Reporters Without Borders release their World Press Freedom Index. All the 180 countries included in the index receive a) an overall score and rank; b) a score and rank in five subcomponent areas; and c) and an overall designation of the state of press freedom in their country.

The 2023 Context

Ghana’s 2024 performance must be examined within the context of its performance in 2023. Last year, the index pointed to two worrying areas where press freedom is concerned in the country.

First, on the political context component of the index, which measures a) the degree of support and respect for media autonomy vis-à-vis political pressure from the state or other political actors; b) the level of acceptance of a variety of journalistic approaches satisfying professional standards, including politically aligned approaches and independent approaches; and c) the degree of support for the media in their role of holding politicians and government to account in the public interest, the country’s overall score dropped by five points and its ranking by nine places compared to the previous year.

Second, on the economic context component, which measures “constraints linked to a) governmental policies (including the difficulty of creating a news media outlet, favoritism in the allocation of state subsidies, and corruption); b) non-state actors (advertisers and commercial partners); and c) media owners seeking to promote or defend their business interests”, although Ghana’s score remained unchanged, its rank dropped significantly from 69 to 80.

Overall, Ghana ranked 62 out of 180 countries with a score of 65.9/100. Its press freedom landscape was classified as problematic.

All in all, the 2023 performance raised serious concerns about press freedom in Ghana and generated several conversations in public spaces.

Ghana’s 2024 Performance – Significant Improvements

Against the 2023 background, Ghana’s 2024 performance can be described as a remarkable improvement in several important ways –

  1. While the overall score did not change significantly (+1.78), the country’s overall ranking among 180 countries improved significantly from 62 (2023) to 50 (2024).
  1. On the political context component, which was one of the worrying areas last year, the country significantly improved its ranking among 180 countries from 63(2023) to 51(2024).
  1. On the economic context component, which was the other worrying area last year, the country improved its ranking among 180 countries from 80 (2023) to 72 (2024).
  1. The most significant improvement occurred in the security and safety of journalists’ component of the index. The index defines press freedom as “the ability to identify, gather and disseminate news and information in accordance with journalistic methods and ethics, without unnecessary risk of bodily harm, psychological or emotional distress, degrading or hateful speech, smears and other threats targeting journalists or their loved-ones, and professional harm.” On this, Ghana’s rank improved significantly among 180 countries from 103(2023) to 72(2024) and its score from 61(2023) to 84(2024).

Ghana’s 2024 Performance – Sore Spots

There are however a few sore spots to pay attention to. On the legal context component of the index, which measures “the degree to which journalists and media are free to work without censorship or judicial sanctions, or excessive restrictions on their freedom of expression; the ability to access information without discrimination between journalists, and the ability to protect sources; the presence or absence of impunity for those responsible for acts of violence against journalists”, the country’s ranking among 180 countries dropped from 31 (2023) to 38 (2024) and its score from 79(2023) to 73(2024).

On the sociocultural context component of the index, which measures “social constraints resulting from denigration and attacks on the press based on such issues as gender, class, ethnicity and religion; and cultural constraints, including pressure on journalists to not question certain bastions of power or influence or not cover certain issues because it would run counter to the prevailing culture in the country or territory,” the country’s score dropped from 79(2023) to 73(2024).

A Year from Now

Altogether, the country’s press freedom landscape is still classified as problematic based on its overall score. However, with the right measures in place to continue promoting and protecting press freedom, the classification of Ghana’s press freedom landscape can change. It is only currently approximately three points shy of being classified as satisfactory. That is the country’s task over the next year.

Let’s always remember that the press plays a critical role in protecting our democracy. Instruments such as the World Press Freedom Index therefore help countries to gauge the health of the environment in which the press is striving to play this role effectively. And when there are warning signals revealed through such indices, it is imperative especially for political authorities to pay attention.


John Osae-Kwapong (Ph.D) is a Democracy and Development Fellow at the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana).



More Publications/Updates

Related Articles


Instituted in 1999, Afrobarometer is a Pan-African, non-partisan survey research project that conducts...


CDD-Ghana established the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) in the year 2000...

Corruption Watch

It seeks to promote integrity in public life by demanding and activating responsiveness and accountability ...

D&G Bootcamp

The overall goal is to promote and deepen democratic consolidation, good governance...

Freedom Project

The overall goal is to promote and deepen democratic consolidation, good governance...

I Am Aware

The I AM AWARE project is CDD-Ghana’s non-partisan citizen empowerment campaign..


WAEON is an independent, non-partisan, and non-religious organization...

WAYLead Fellowship

The overall goal is to promote and deepen democratic consolidation, good governance...