World Press Freedom Day: No compromise on Press Freedom, FG assures media

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris yesterday gave assurance that the Federal Government will not compromise press freedom.
He said the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will guarantee unfettered access to journalists and provide enabling environment for the media.

Idris said no single journalist has been incarcerated under the Tinubu administration for practising responsible journalism.

He said the media is largely free in Nigeria.

He, however, said spreading falsehood and misinformation is irresponsible journalism and cannot be equated with press freedom.

The Minister spoke in Abuja at a press briefing organised by his ministry in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Environment and Ecological Management, and the United Nations Educational and Scientific Organisation (UNESCO), to commemorate this year’s World Press Freedom Day.


He briefed alongside the Minister of State for Environment and Ecological Management, Dr. Iziaq Salako; Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Mr. Bayo Onanuga; Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation, Dr. Ngozi Onwudiwe; Head UNESCO Office Abuja, Mr. Abdourahamane Diallo.


He said: “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.

He said as President Tinubu strives to position Nigeria as an attractive destination for Foreign Direct Investment, the media must 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.”

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has said it was working to engage the media in reviewing laws and practices that restrict press freedom and the ability of the media to carry out their constitutional role effectively.

Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon. Akintunde Rotimi disclosed in his message to celebrate the 2024 World Press Freedom Day.

According to him, the House acknowledges the Nigerian media as one of the most vibrant institutions in the country.

The statement reads “the Nigeria House of Representatives joins the global community of journalists and media practitioners in commemorating this year’s World Press Freedom Day.

“Commemorated on May 3 annually, the observance of Press Freedom Day highlights the importance of a free media for healthy democracies, and provides an opportunity to celebrate journalists as agents of public good.

“In this light, we celebrate and honour the work of every journalist and media practitioner across our country as they exercise their duty of upholding the fundamental objectives contained in the constitution, as well as, upholding the responsibility and accountability of government to the people.

“The theme of this day which says ‘A Press for the Planet: Journalism in the Face of the Environmental Crisis’ alludes to the critical role that journalists play in creating necessary awareness at a time the world is battling some of the worst impacts of climate change.

“Our country, Nigeria, is not excluded from this fight, since it is now ranked as one of the most vulnerable to climate change. This is reflected in the numerous issues we encounter, including flooding, drought, food insecurity, erosion, harsh weather, and even conflicts caused by resource shortages and struggle.

“Millions of Nigerians turn to the media for answers and explanations in the face of these terrible and ever-changing circumstances. Hence, the media needs to accept responsibility and rewrite the story to make the main reason for these problems clear to the public.”

<<The Nation>>

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