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Journalists urged to focus on science reportage

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 bio-technology reporting to promote credible, evidence-based science information delivery in agriculture bio-technology to their audience.

According to him, a well-versed science journalist was a valuable asset to a Ghana that was full of ignorance, disease, prejudice and stereotypes.
He, therefore, appealed to science journalists in these places to be more assertive in assisting to harness and reshaping the mentality of the people towards embracing modern practices.
Ameyaw said the importance of mastering issues relating to agriculture, climate change, science and technology had life-changing potentials that sometimes alter the course of humanity.
He said apart from accurate information to empower the populace, a competent science reporter would readily understand the dangers of sensationalising issues.
Dr Ampadu-Ameyaw was speaking to The Finder on the sidelines at the launch 2018 Open Forum on Agriculture Biotechnology (OFAB) Ghana Chapter.
OFAB Ghana is a member of OFAB Africa Group, which aims at creating awareness on biotechnology and genetically modified organisms in Africa.
He added that the main challenge in science reporting has been the divide between the researchers and the media community.
According to him, most journalists are not reporting on science because most of them find it difficult to break down the terminologies in the subject.
He cited that the genetically modified organism (GMO) controversy continues to rage in Ghana because people do not really understand what the real issues are, and it is also because most journalists do not clearly understand the issue at stake.
“We are in a science, technology and innovation-led economy and there is the need to get more journalists to propagate what we are doing in that regard,” he stressed.
OFAB awards, he explained, is to enhance science and technology reporting in Ghana.
Giving an overview of the awards, he stated that interested applicants should submit a 150-word story, a 200-word biography, the media house they represent and a motivation letter in order to participate in the awards, scheduled to take place in September.
He added there the awards are in three categories: radio, television and print.
Professor Walter Sandow Alhassan, a former Director-General, CSIR Ghana and Chairman of the Ghana Chapter, in his opening remarks, stated that OFAB facilitates direct interaction of scientists involved in biotechnology with journalists, policymakers, civil society, farmers, and other stakeholders.
He said how the media repackages and delivers information on science-based information was critical to nation building.
Professor Alhassan said researchers must constantly engage the media at the various stages of technology development to ensure that they understand the right information to be disseminated.
The President of the Ghana Journalists’ Association (GJA), Dr Roland Affail Monney, who was at the launch, said the science and technology awards would enhance science and technology education in the country.
He urged the organisers to expand the scope of the awards to motivate more journalists.

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