From Okwe Obi, Abuja

The Federal Government, yesterday, assured journalists that it would not tamper with the freedom of the press.

The government noted that no single journalist had been hounded or incarcerated under the President Bola Tinubu-led administration for practicing responsible journalism.

Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, was responding to a question at a press briefing organized by his ministry in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Ecological Management, and the United Nations Educational and Scientific Organisation (UNESCO), to commemorate this year’s World Press Freedom Day, in Abuja.

“I have not seen somebody in the life of this administration, for example, who has been put in jail or who has gone into exile as a result of press freedom.

“We knew what has happened in this country in the past. Some decades ago, we know that you have to leave this country to be able to report.

“I can tell you that the press in Nigeria is largely free but that freedom will further be consolidated if honesty and transparency are upheld in the manner that we report,” he said.

The Minister said the President recognized the importance of responsible media coverage in enlightening, informing, and educating Nigerians and the world, adding that through credible and timely information, everyone can be well-informed, and the media can serve as a valuable tool for fostering transparency and accountability.

“As a Ministry and Government, we provided the most unfettered access to Journalists and provided the enabling environment that has continued to encourage the Nigerian media to grow in leaps and bounds,” he said.

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The Minister reminded journalists that spreading falsehood and misinformation is irresponsible journalism and cannot be equated with press freedom.

He said as President Tinubu strives to position Nigeria as an attractive destination for Foreign Direct Investment, the media should present a positive and accurate portrayal of the country to the international community.

While speaking on this year’s theme of World Press Freedom Day, ‘’A Press for the Planet: Journalism in the face of Environmental Crisis,” Idris said the world is confronted by an environmental crisis of unprecedented magnitude, one that poses a threat not only to the planet but to the very future of humanity.

He said climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, and resource depletion are not abstract concepts but harsh realities that demand immediate and decisive action toward public mobilization and sensitization.

“It is our conviction, that Press freedom is not just a fundamental human right; it is also essential for environmental sustainability. Without a free and independent press, we cannot hope to address the complex environmental challenges we face.

“Disinformation and misinformation undermine public understanding of environmental issues and hinder our ability to take meaningful action. Therefore, we must staunchly defend press freedom and support the work of journalists who are dedicated to reporting the truth,” he said.

Minister of State for Environment Iziaq Adekunle Adebayo Salako, encouraged journalists to promote environmental policies of the government.

“You as journalists have a critical role to play in driving environmental policy formulation and implementation and also in shaping public perception about the crisis.

“Let us therefore work together, across sectors and borders, to harness the power of media in addressing the environmental crisis and advancing sustainable development.

“Journalism plays a pivotal role in advancing environmental agendas, serving as a catalyst for change, a watchdog for accountability, and a voice for the voiceless,” he said.