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GJA Takes 2024 World Press Freedom Day Celebrations to Koforidua

World Press Freedom Day is also marked at a time when attacks on press freedom have intensified

The Ghana journalists’ body, the GJA is marking for the first time, the World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) outside the country’s capital Accra, to Koforidua in the Eastern Region.

In a statement ahead of the celebrations, the Ghana Journalists Association said the new approach to the commemoration of WPFD is to make regional branches vibrant and inspire all members with a strong sense of belonging in the Association.

World Press Freedom Day is marked each year on May 3 to celebrate the “value of truth and to protect the people who work courageously to uncover it.”

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This year’s theme is captured as “Press for the Planet: Journalism in the Face of the Environmental Crisis,” as the climate crisis ravages on.

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A recent report by the World Bank and published by Ghana Business News for instance pointed to the serious impact of climate change on health in Ghana.

“Ghana is vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Climate change impacts the epidemiology of climate-sensitive infectious diseases such as malaria and diarrhea, which are estimated to be the first and eighth most common causes of death in Ghana,” parts of the report that were quoted by the Ghana Business News said.

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In the face of this crisis, it speaks more to the ever-importance of the evidence-based climate reporting that the world so urgently needs.

“We are marking it this year in an era of acute global turmoil and the profound fragmentation and polarisation of humanity. As climate change batters our fragile planet, the lives and livelihoods of future generations are under the gravest threat this world has ever known. Environmental journalists need stronger commitments from their governments and their employers to protect them. Better and safer working conditions. An expanded media space for coverage on environmental issues,” said Volker Türk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.

World Press Freedom Day is also marked at a time when attacks on press freedom have intensified. According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), press freedom around the world is being threatened by the very people who should be its guarantors – political authorities.

71 journalists and media workers were killed in 2023, with only 13% of the murder cases having been investigated.

According to a separate report by UNESCO, reporting on the environmental crisis has proven more dangerous. 44 journalists have been killed for covering environmental stories over the last 15 years, according to UNESCO’s Observatory of Killed Journalists.

“The report found other forms of physical attack were also prevalent, with 353 incidents. It also found attacks had more than doubled in recent years, rising from 85 in 2014-2018 to 183 between 2019-2023.”

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