KENYA – The Kenya Chapter of the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa (OFAB) has lauded Kenyan media as a crucial catalyst for scientific progress and agricultural transformations in a celebration of exemplary science journalism and recognition of excellence in reporting agricultural biotechnology.

Dr. Jackie Kado, the Executive Director of the Network of African Science Academies, highlighted the pivotal role of the media in promoting national development plans and fostering interactive knowledge sharing.

She commended journalists for shaping audience perceptions and instilling public confidence in agricultural biotechnology, noting the media’s unique ability to bring science, technology, and innovation into the public sphere.

OFAB-Kenya Chair and ISAAA AfriCenter Director, Dr. Margaret Karembu, praised the media for providing factual information amidst a polarized debate on modern biotechnology following the lifting of a 10-year ban on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Kenya.

She described journalists as the “agents of facts” in the science, technology, and innovation field.

Top journalists recognized

The gala also recognized four top journalists for their outstanding contributions to public awareness of agricultural biotechnology through their reporting.

Brygettes Ngana and Sam Doe of Nation Media Group were jointly crowned winners, while Hellen Asewe Miseda, a Science Editor with the Standard Group, was named the first runner-up.

Sammy Waweru, also from NMG, emerged as the second runner-up. These journalists were invited to participate in the OFAB Africa Media Awards scheduled later in the year.

The event underscored the critical role of media in advancing scientific understanding and driving innovation in agriculture, ultimately contributing to national economic growth and development.

Furthermore, journalists were encouraged to participate in the newly launched Africa Science Dialogue portal, a fact-checking resource and source of credible information on innovations, reports ISAAA.

This platform aims to connect science with society by addressing misinformation and disinformation in agriculture, health, and the environment.

It seeks to eliminate the risks associated with misinformation, such as delayed decision-making and unfounded fears about new technologies.

The OFAB Project facilitates constructive conversations among key stakeholders and decision-makers on agricultural biotechnology. For both policymakers and the larger public, OFAB facilitates quality engagements and conversations on the safety and benefits of modern biotechnology.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is supporting the implementation of OFAB, an AATF project, in 10 African nations: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Malawi, and Rwanda.

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