A Senior Scientist at the council for scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Dr. Richard Ampadu Ameyaw, has appealed to Ghanaian journalists to show more interest in agriculture, science and biotechnology reporting in order to promote credible, evidence-based science information delivery on agriculture bio-technology to the public.
“There is the need to recognise journalists who has contributed to this debate that is to tell the truth as to what technology is all about “he noted.
He was speaking at the 2018 Open Forum for Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) Media Awards Ceremony dubbed, “Exemplary Journalism, Credible Science Reporting and better Public Understanding of Science Technology and Innovation, on Friday 24th August, 2018, in Accra.
Dr. Ampadu said, the event would not only clear the issues that borders on the subject but will also go a long way to cure the perception and mistrust between scientist and journalists, in order to promote excellence in science journalism for a sustainable agriculture.
However, he noted that, public education were still ongoing with respect to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) foods.
Professor Kenneth Danso, Director of Biotechnology and Nuclear Agric Research Institute (BNARI) of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, on his part underscored the need to bridge the gap between scientists and the media to enhance science and technology education in the country.
He was of the view that, there was the need to support the country’s agricultural sector with technology to increase production for industries that uses agriculture material and as well as improve the livelihood of farmers.
Dr. Yakubu Alhassan, former Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), also called on the various tertiary institutions to adopt communication of science and interpretation of scientific components into their curricula to give science students a better opportunity of enabling the world to know and understand the results of research.
He said, an investment and business communication dimensions were not current subject scientists could add, he therefore, urged journalists to be stakeholders and communicators to that effect.
“Journalists therefore, need some motivation because it becomes important for journalists, who opt to report on science and agriculture to be able to do it efficiently,” Dr. Yakubu emphasized.
Dr. George Owusu Essegbey, a former Director, CSIR, Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI), the chairman of the event, noted that, journalists who evaluated science and develop interest in scientific reporting are worth celebrating. Adding that “we need to honour those who educate the public on relevant things under science, technology and innovation.”
He said, this was very necessary because, science reporting was a noble mission that needs much more attention when it comes to communication.
This year’s awards, which was the second edition according to the organizers saw a much more improvement of entries across the country as compared to that of last year.
There were three (3) categories, the print/online, TV and radio. Three (3) outstanding Journalists were awarded for writing on and creating the awareness of biotechnology and genetically modified organisms in Ghana and Africa as a whole.
The outstanding awardees were, Iddi Z Yire, who is an editor at GNA in Accra becoming the 1st runner-up in the print/online category. He took home Gh¢800,00, an iPad, a plaque and a.hamber, while the winner in that category was Prosper Kwame Kuorsoh, who also writes for GNA in WA. He took home a cash prize of Gh¢ 1,000,00, an iPad, a plaque and a hamper.
Philip Bagyiliko Tengzu, a reporter for radio Mark, WA in the Upper west Region also emerged as winner in the radio category. He took home an amount of Gh¢ 1,000,00, an iPad, a plaque and a hamper.
On behalf of the winners, Prosper Kuorsoh, thanked organizers of the OFAB Awards for the opportunity and the great exposure. He also assured them of their continuous accurate reportage on agric, science and biotechnology, and the awareness on genetically modified organisms in Ghana and Africa.
Meanwhile, the winners would be participating in this year’s OFAB Africa Regional Awards which would be held in September in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
Launched in May 2013, OFAB Ghana, was birthed by the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), a platform that provides an opportunity for biotechnology stakeholders to network, share knowledge, experiences together and allow them to explore new avenues of bringing the benefits of biotechnology to the African farmer and investor.
It has however been in partnership with the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the Programme for Biosafety Systems (PBS), and the AATF to bring journalists who have excelled in reporting on biotechnology to the limelight.