The Vice-President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Mrs Linda Asante- Agyei, has urged journalists reporting on the country’s agriculture sector to focus more on science and bio-technology and its importance in their reportage.
She said science and bio-technology had been relegated to the background or given limited attention and it was, therefore, time to change the narrative by reporting the facts and not rumors about what pertains within the sector.
“As journalists, we owe it a duty to educate, entertain and inform and these we must do professionally to create awareness of agriculture bio-technology.
We believe that journalists must prioritise science reporting and for that matter agriculture bio-technology through responsible, professional and ethical reporting,” she said.
Mrs Asante-Agyei was speaking at the third edition of the Open Forum Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) with focus on agriculture, media awards for journalists reporting on agriculture in Ghana.
Agriculture, she noted, needed to be given the necessary attention as it is often touted as the bedrock of the economy.
“At the GJA, we believe that agriculture, science and technology is an integral part of Ghana’s development agenda. Journalists have a serious and a big role to play to make sure that the country achieves the desired results in the field of agriculture,” she said.
Mrs Asante- Agyei also urged agric scientists not to shy away from the media but open up to them so they can understand the issues better and report on them.
The Director General of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Dr Victor K. Agyeman, said it was time for the country to change its values and give prominence to the change drivers.
He noted that it was time to value journalists as they play a key role in bringing out the needed transformation of the country.
A Member of OFAB Ghana, Professor Kenneth Danso, reiterated the importance of the role of the media in correcting the misconceptions about the use of science and bio-technology in agriculture in Ghana.
He noted that other countries have done well through science and it was, therefore, important to put out the facts on its importance so people appreciated it better.
The Country Coordinator of OFAB Ghana, Dr Richard Ampadu- Ameyaw, said in the first year of the awards, they received only two entries and it increased to six in the second year.
This year, however, the awards received 19 entries from seven journalists from six media houses in the country.
He also urged other journalists to focus on writing on science and bio-technology so they can vie for the awards next year to help change the narrative on the subject in Ghana.
The OFAB, he said, was an initiative of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) and provided opportunities to enhance knowledge-sharing and awareness creation of agricultural biotechnology.
Graphic, others win
A Staff Writer with the Graphic Business, the financial newspaper in the stable of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), Mrs Ama Achiaa Amankwah Baafi, won the first prize in the Print/ Online category at the awards.
Mrs Baafi also emerged as the Best Reporter in Agriculture Reporting (Print category) at the 23rd Ghana Journalists (GJA) awards last year.
She was also given a special recognition award at the 2018 Flamingo awards for Business Journalism of the Institute for Financial and Economic Journalism (IFEJ) which sought to recognise business and financial journalists whose quality reports are influencing policy for growth and development in Ghana.
Other winners were Mr Ibrahim Abubakari of the Multimedia Group who was the first runner up in the Print/ Online category and Mr Salifu Wononwo, the winner in the radio category.
They all received a hamper, cash prize and a plaque. The two first prize winners in addition received a Samsung Tablet.