Ghana ranked 27th in the index, dropping dropping by four notches from last year’s 23rd.

The index, an annual review of 180 countries and their relationship with the media, was released by the Reporters Without Borders, also known as Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF), on Thursday.

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Norway ranked topmost in the index for the third time in a row.

The report cited the murder of investigative journalist Ahmed Suale and several attacks on journalists with "impunity."

"A group of investigative journalists had to spend part of 2018 in hiding after producing a documentary about Ghanaian soccer corruption. A ruling party parliamentarian who had been named in the documentary publicly threatened one of the journalists without ever being sanctioned. The journalist was shot dead in the street a few months later. Journalists are rarely arrested but several were attacked with impunity in 2018, in some cases by police officers," the report noted.

“Although Ghana continues to be seen as one of the most democratic countries in Africa and Chapter 12 of its 1992 constitution guarantees media pluralism and independence, a third of the media are owned by the state or by businessmen linked to the government."

Only 24 percent of the countries analyzed in RSF’s index earned a “satisfactory” or “good” press freedom rating.

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Namibia topped the African league at 23 with Norway ranking first worldwide while Turkmenistan sat at the bottom at 180.

“If the political debate slides surreptitiously or openly towards a civil war-style atmosphere, in which journalists are treated as scapegoats, then democracy is in great danger,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “Halting this cycle of fear and intimidation is a matter of the utmost urgency for all people of good will who value the freedoms acquired in the course of history.”