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Kenyan Journalists Feted for Outstanding Reporting on Agri-Biotech
Tuesday, 2023/09/26 | 08:21:33

The Kenyan media has been hailed as a key driver of science and innovations and an enabler of agricultural transformations in the country. Speaking during a media awards gala held in Nairobi on September 15, 2023, science and agricultural stakeholders heaped praises on the media for promoting public understanding and acceptance of agricultural biotechnology. The gala was organized by the Kenya Chapter of the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa (OFAB) to celebrate exemplary science journalism and recognize excellence in reporting agri-biotechnology.


Dr. Jackie Kado, the Executive Director of the Network of African Science Academies acknowledged the media's contribution in actualizing agricultural transformations and national economic growth. "The media has instrumentally promoted national development plans through the provision of a platform that enhances interactively, knowledge sharing and actualization of important science-based interventions," she said. She lauded journalists for their pivotal role in influencing audience perception and inspiring public confidence about agricultural biotechnology. "The media bears a unique reputation in bringing science, technology and innovation into the public sphere," Dr. Kado remarked.


OFAB-Kenya Chair and ISAAA AfriCenter Director Dr. Margaret Karembu extolled media's invaluable role in providing factual information in the midst of polarized debate on modern biotechnology post the lifting of a 10-year ban on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Kenya. "Experts have used the platform (media) to allay any fears about the technology and assure Kenyans that this technology is a viable option to improving our agricultural production. Members of the Fourth Estate, we applaud you for always being the agents of facts on science, technology and innovation," said Dr. Karembu.


Journalists were challenged to be part of the newly-launched Africa Science Dialogue portal, a fact-checker and one-stop source of verifiable and credible information on innovations. The portal provides an inclusive and interactive platform that connects science to society by timely addressing gross misinformation/disinformation about innovations in agriculture, health and the environment. The platform will play a key role in eradicating the dangers of misinformation which include delayed decision making, and fears and mistrusts about new technologies. "Journalists are poised to benefit from this platform through exclusive access to a pool of subject matter experts not only on agricultural technologies but also in other field such as public health, One Health and climate action," Dr. Karembu explained.


Four top journalists were feted at the gala for their contribution in promoting public awareness about agricultural biotechnology through their stories. Nation Media Group's Brygettes Ngana and Sam Doe were crowned joint winners. Hellen Asewe Miseda, a science editor with the Standard Group scooped the first runner-up award while Sammy Waweru, also of NMG, emerged the second runner-up. The winning journalists were also invited to participate in the OFAB Africa Media Awards to be held later in the year.


For more information about OFAB-Kenya Media Awards, contact Dr. Margaret Karembu at mkarembu@isaaa.org



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