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Media fanned school fires, new report shows

Education CS Fred Matiang'i

The media was partly to blame for the dormitory fires that paralysed learning in many schools last year, according to a new report.

A Government report accuses the media of sensational reporting at a time many schools were going up in flames.

And now, a special investigations team, constituted by Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i, proposes that the ministry petitions Parliament to enact laws that will ensure responsible journalism.

"Sensational media reports were cited as one of the causes of unrest since many reports seemed to glorify negative students' activities," reads the report. It says that the media misreported or exaggerating some of the incidents.

"For example, one media house reported the burning of four dormitories in one school whereas none had actually been burnt and there was no form of unrest experienced in that school," reads the report.

And in another school, where there was an attempt to burn a dormitory, the report says, the culprits confessed that they had wanted to appear on television.

"Some programmes that ran on national television seemed to glorify delinquency, systematically creating heroes out of truant students."

Mobile phones made the situation worse as information on unrest would easily be spread through social media.