Group demands apology from Mahama over false African Press Freedom ranking claim

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John Mahama

A group known as Student Journalists For Truth, has asked former President John Mahama to apologise to Ghanaians and the media for inaccurate comments he made last week on World Press Freedom Day.

On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day last week, former President Mahama said in a video message that Ghana was the number one ranked country in Africa for press freedom when he was President, and went on to criticise the current government for making Ghana lose that position due to its poor press freedom record.

The former President’s claim has, however, been challenged as false by the Media Foundation for West Africa and some fact checkers.

The young student journalists are now calling on the former President to apologise for his false comments, which they have described as repulsive.

“The Students Journalists For Truth (SJFT) has noted with repulsion, an unfortunate falsehood peddled by former President of our country, John Dramani Mahama, on no other day than World Press Freedom Day,” the group said in their press statement.

“What is even more repulsive is the fact that the former President chose a day meant to celebrate press freedom to peddle such falsehood for his parochial, political considerations.”

“It is rather unfortunate that on a day meant to celebrate the press and highlight one of its most important elements, former President Mahama chose to desecrate the day by using the press to peddle falsehood,” they added.

The group wondered why the former President made such comments, and said an apology from him is needed to set the records straight.

“We cannot fathom what could have motivated the former President to confidently peddle such a lie when incontrovertible records clearly show that Ghana was never ranked number in Africa as far as press freedom is concerned during his time as President.”

“Upholding press freedom is also about speaking truth to the public, especially by high-ranking public officials as the former President.”

“We wish to call on the former President to apologise for the unfortunate untruths he peddled to set the records straight. These lies, if left uncorrected, would become a misleading reference point for younger generations because it was peddled by a former President.”

Below is the fuĺl statement by the group:

MAHAMA MUST APOLOGISE FOR PEDDLING FALSEHOOD TO THE PRESS ON WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY

The Students Journalists For Truth (SJFT) has noted with repulsion, an unfortunate falsehood peddled by former President of our country, John Dramani Mahama, on no other day than World Press Freedom Day.

In a video mesaage on Sunday May 3 to mark World Press Freedom Day, former President Mahama said:
“During my tenure as Preaident 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 also placed 28 in the global ranking among 180 countries. Three and half years later, wr have slumped seven players on the global ranking, and lost the number slot in Africa to Namibia, and Cape Verde.”

The above categorical statement by former President Mahama is a complete lie and as young students of journalism and communication, we find it completely unacceptable that the highest-ranking former official of our country would conveniently peddle such gaping falsehood.

What is even more repulsive is the fact that the former President chose a day meant to celebrate press freedom to peddle such falsehood for his parochial, political considerations.

The World Press Freedom Day is a day specially set aside to celebrate the sanctity of the press, which includes independence, accountability, objectivity and most importantly truth.

It is rather unfortunate that on a day meant to celebrate the press and highlight one of its most important elements, former President Mahama chose to desecrate the day by using the press to peddle falsehood.

We cannot fathom what could have motivated the former President to confidently peddle such a lie when incontrovertible records clearly show that Ghana was never ranked number in Africa as far as press freedom is concerned during his time as President.

As young student journalists, we are encouraged by the bold step by a section of the media to point out the unfortunte misrepresentation by the former President through fact-checking.

The West Africa Media Foundation has also come out to state that what former President Mahama stated was untrue.

Finally, we wish to call on the former President to apologise for the unfortunate untruths he peddled to set the records straight. These lies, if left uncorrected, would become a misleading reference point for younger generations because it was peddled by a former President.

Upholding press freedom is also about speaking truth to the public, especially by high-ranking public officials as the former President.

Indeed facts are sacred!

SIGNED
SALIM ZIBLIM
(PRESIDENT)

Source: Daily Mail GH

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