The 2018 World Press Freedom Index published on Wednesday shows that Eritrea is the second worst atmosphere for media personnel in the world. The country placed 179 on the 180 country list, only before North Korea.
Sudan, Egypt, Burundi, Equatorial Guinea, Djibouti and Somalia also placed in the lower half of the index.
The World Press Freedom Index has been published annually by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) since 2002. The index measures the level of media freedom around the world, including the level of pluralism, media independence, and respect for the safety and freedom of journalists. The 2018 Index takes account of violations that took place between January 1st and December 31st, 2017.
Eritrea has been a dictatorship for the past 26 years in which there is no room for freely reported news and information. The only independent and politically non-partisan radio station in the country is Radio Erena which is run by exiled Eritrean journalists based in Paris. Its signal is often jammed in the country
According to a June 2016 UN report, Eritrea’s President Issayas Afeworki is responsible for “crimes against humanity,” and has no plans to loosen his grip on the country. According to the RSF, at least 11 journalists are currently detained without being charged or tried in the country.
“Those who think there will be democracy in this country can think so in another world,” he said in 2014.
Ghana, on the other hand, is the country with the best atmosphere for media personnel in Africa. Journalists are rarely arrested or imprisoned.
The country placed 23rd on the list, Namibia in 26th, and South Africa in the 28th slot. Ghana dethroned Namibia which topped Africa’s ranking in 2017.
Ghana is being praised for its overall freedom of press though concerns about lack of transparency and petty harassment of journalists exist.