Freelance journalist, SciDev.Net
Approximately 180 delegates from all regions of Africa have committed to lobby for an African country to host the World Conference of Science Journalists in 2015.
The journalists were attending the first ASJC on promoting science journalism for socio-economic development. International and local scientific research institutions, officials representing the Kenyan government, and funding partners also committed to seek strategic partnerships with funding, research, academic and media institutions that recognize the need to promote science journalism in Africa.
“We commit ourselves to sustain the continuous engagement between journalists and scientists to build trust and ensure appropriate information flow to the public,” reads part of the statement.
The declaration also called on scientific research agencies and academic institutions to ensure that African science journalists are included throughout the duration of their research.
The declaration was read during the closing ceremony of the ASJC, by the Media for Environment, Science, Health and Agriculture secretary Aghan Daniel. He called on scientific research agencies to prioritise working with African journalists through regular forums, networking, training, conferences, and exhibitions.
The declaration also recommended that African governments take the lead in ensuring that there are reduced ‘red tape’ measures on legislation that promotes science and development.
“The civil society organisation should ensure the recognition and reporting of the work of African scientists without distortion. There should be meaningful involvement of journalists at all stages in the development of research findings from the various African research and academic institutions,” said the statement.
According to Daniel, this is a working document, but there are hopes of turning it into a policy document to help guide how science reporting and communication is carried out in Africa.
This blog post is part of our Africa Science Journalists Conference 2012 blog, which takes place 20-23 August in Nakuru, Kenya. To read news and analysis on science journalism please visit our website.