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Author Topic: Nigerian Minister calls for more science reporting  (Read 2163 times)
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Francis Umeoguaju
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« on: September 27, 2010, 09:57:01 am »


GNA - Prof Christian Onyebuchi Chukwu, Nigeria's Minister of Health, has said traditional beliefs and practices still dominate the psyche of a sizeable proportion of the populace in Africa and the Middle East as a result of inadequate and inaccurate scientific reportage.
    
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.    
   
Prof Chukwu was addressing the first regional meeting of Science Journalism Cooperation (SjCOOP) Phase Two Project for science journalists in Anglophone Africa and Asia on Monday.
    
The project was collaboration between the World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ) and Development Communications Networks (DEVCOMS), a Nigeria-based development group, with support from the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and other partners.
    
He said a well-drilled science journalist was a valuable asset to the continent that is full of ignorance, disease, prejudice and stereotypes.
    
Prof Chukwu said the importance of mastering issues relating to health, environment, 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-based science reporter would readily understand the dangers of sensationalizing issues.
    
Ms Olfa Labassi, WFSJ and SjCOOP Manager, said the strategy of the fellowship was to bridge the gap between the continent's scientists and journalists for accurate and information dissemination.
    
She said from the 81 journalists who participated in the maiden project between 2006-9 period, 15 were promoted, 17 started freelancing internationally and together collected more than 44 prizes and awards.
     
Mr Diran Onifade, President African Federation of Science Journalists (AFST), said science journalism was an emerging force in Africa and called on participants to demonstrate commitment and hard-headedness to distinguish themselves from the rest.
    
He said it was expected that scepticism of scientists and policy-makers towards the media as well as lack of interest from editors for science and research would be abated henceforth.

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