Rivers State Ministry of Education has threatened to sue media houses for allegedly pedelling deliberate falsehood.
The media was awash with the reportage of the news protesting students of Olanada Junior Secondary School in the Rumuola axis of the State capital over what they termed shortage of teachers in critical subjects areas in the school.
The State Commissioner for Education,Professor Kaniye Ebeku,handed down the threat when he visited the school on a fact- finding mission.
He told Journalists that the viral news of the protesting students was fake and intended to rubbish the efforts of the State Government in the education sector.
He said investigation carried out by the authorities revealed that no such protest held in the school on the said date and that none of the media houses who reported the story had a firsthand coverage of the said protest, nor bothered to visit the school to verify the information they received before publishing the said story.
His words: “Infact, the picture of the students that have been put out does not represent the true uniform of the students of this school presently.”
“There is nothing like shortage of teachers even in the core subject areas. On the contrary, this Junior School has 82 teachers in its records. On the day of the alleged protest,68 teachers reported for duty at the time the time-book was closed for the day”.
“This is a veritable fact.
I wonder where those who pushed out that information got the information from. It is most unfair and it is unacceptable.”
“Enough of this kind of Journalism, it’s unacceptable. This issue will not be allowed to die a natural death. The law will take its due course. We will not allow those who peddled the fake news to go scot-free.”
Professor Ebeku used the medium to decry the rising trend of fake news within conventional media practice.
“Frankly, it is saddening that we have Journalists who are themselves junk and they peddle junk Journalism.”
“There was no such incidence as protest in this school on Monday, the 15th of February or anytime this year”,he said.
Also speaking, Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, Ven. (Dr.) FyneFace Aka, said it was disappointing that some media houses do not ascertain the authenticity of their stories before publicizing same.
“It is disheartening that people sit down in their houses and come up with very destructive ideas and things that can destabilize the peace of communities and misinform the public”,he said.
Venerable Aka also said that contrary to claims in the media, that the water facility in the school which was installed less than two years ago, was functional.
He challenged media houses that aired and published the story to provide facts on the alleged protest or be ready to face legal sanctions.
“We’ll take legal action against erring media houses, he concluded.