On the last day of Third Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF-3), participants gave particular attention to developing countries.
In the morning, a Building Networks session – titled ‘How to Support Science Journalists in Developing Countries’ – was organised by German Science Journalists’ Association (WPK) with a panel including Jan Lublinski (Chair) of WPK, Nadia El Awady of Arab Science Journalists’ Association (ASJA), Egypt, Gervais Mbarga, University of Yaounde Cameroon, Valeria Román from Clarín of Argentina, David Dickson from SciDev.Net and Diran Onifade of the African Federation of Science Journalists.
David Dickson’s presentation on the role of SciDev.Net in promoting science communication capacity-buildings in developing countries was paid particular attention.
The panels first presented the situation. While science journalism remains a big challenge in the developing world, there has been a major progress. More than 20 science journalism associations have been built or being done so; there have been two SjCoop (science journalist cooperation) by the World Federation of Science journalists (WFSJ); and there are regional science journalism federations. A group of science journalists in Africa, Latin America and Asia have risen up to be internationally famous.
But the situation remains serious, and participants discussed there is need to better fit the need of the developing countries, the efforts between the developed world and the developing countries to tweak together are to be diversified and the science communication workshops in developing countries must be better evaluated. One particular question is if the general situation of developing countries cannot be changed – say, the attitude of editor who continues to refuse science reporting – how can we evaluate the effect of science journalism capacity-buildings in these countries.
In the afternoon, the Bosch Foundation gave a summary of the feedback it has received from the journalist fellows it brought to ESOF. Participants said there should be more sessions on the developing countries. They also talked about the difference between ESOF and AAAS’ annual meeting, saying the latter has a wider worldwide perspective and a more professional public relations team.
In my presentation, I suggested that we cannot ignore Europe and developing countries. It is ESOF. So we should have more sessions on the role of Europe in helping the developing countries.
The five-day ESOF meeting ended without big celebrations, but attracted nearly 2,000 participants.
Jia Hepeng, China coordinator, SciDev.Net
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