MAKERERE – The Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovations Hon. Elioda Tumwesigye has acknowledged the tremendous role played by media in bridging the communication gap that has long existed between scientists and communities.
Speaking to journalists, communication specialists, scholars, and scientific researchers at Makerere University Annual Media Convention this week, the Minister said that through media and other communication channels, useful research findings and scientific information has reached communities in a simple and understandable manner.
“The media is key to creating this link between science and society as a science not communicated is science lost. Publishing findings in journals are good but the information therein never reaches the public. By reporting about scientific developments, the media contribute to public understanding of and engagement with science and technology,” he said
He also noted that there is a need to develop strong partnerships between scientists who generate the knowledge and the media who take it to society.
He commended social media as a handy tool through which information on scientific discoveries, innovations and other breakthroughs can be communicated.
The Minister noted that currently, Science, Technology and Innovation and more specifically Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is a central driver of all aspects of human endeavor. The World’s most revolutionary innovations are driven by ICTs which constitute the 3rd Industrial revolution and are at the Centre of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR).
The Minister was excited to learn that Makerere University had become the champion in pioneering Science Communication as part of journalism and media training. He was also grateful to know that the University had strategically recognized social media as an additional tool for advancing science communication and public engagement.
The Makerere University Annual Media Convention (AMC) 2019 was organized by the Department of Journalism and Communication, in partnership with SciDev. Net.
The event brought together journalists and media practitioners, public communication experts, policy makers and government officials, academicians, civil society and development partners, as well as journalism students across the region to discuss and propose solutions on how to improve and advance journalism and communication with a critical focus on the role of traditional and social media platforms play in disseminating scientific information in society.
The event was organized under the theme: Communicating Science in the Social Media Age: Sharing Technical Information from Researchers to the Media”.
Dr. William Teyeebwa, Head, Department of Journalism and Communication, the AMC 2019 provided a platform to the leading minds in the area of communication and journalism together with scientists and researchers to deeply analyze the concept Science communication, draw frameworks on the relationship between media and research and develop strategies on how journalists can work harmoniously with scientists to help communities.
“This year, we are paying much attention to how technical information from research institutions is reported to the general public, the challenges faced and how such information is discussed in society, in an attempt to improve science communication in Uganda,” said Dr. Tayeebwa.
Among the day’s proceedings was the awarding of certificates to over 30 students of Journalism and Communication who successfully completed a one-year online short course in Science Communication. The certificates were handed over to the students by the Minister Tumwesigye together with DR. Charles WendoLwanga, the Director of Script Project, ScieDev.Net.
At the same function, Daily Monitor awarded Ms. Lyn Tukei with the Tebere-Mudin Award for the overall best performing student of Journalism and Communication.
Ms. Tukei graduated in January 2019 with CGPA of 4.29.
Ms. Betty Musasizi won the CranimerMugerwa Award for the best performing student in photojournalism. The award is sponsored by New Vision in honour of their treasured fallen photojournalist Cranimer Mugerwa.
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration, Prof. William Bazeyo pledged to support the best Journalism and Communication student with a token of UGX 2milion starting next academic year 2019/2020.