When the independent rights-monitoring group Freedom House released its latest “Freedom of the Press” report last week, an accompanying world map carried an almost-hidden surprise. The color-coded depiction of media rights across the planet pointed to a predictable breakdown: Europe and North America looked placidly green, while the purple shades of repression dominated most of Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
There was, however, a remarkable spot of green on the western edge of Africa. It looked out of place, as if it were a mistake. The small West African nation of Ghana, it turns out, is an anomaly of freedom in a region where democracy, stability and rule of law have struggled to take root.
Ghana’s press freedom score was not only the highest in Africa, it equaled Spain’s and beat most Eastern European countries, as well as most of Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and the former Soviet states.