For the first time, Zambia’s science journalists will be recognised by fellow scientists and policymakers for their role in promoting science and technology in the country.The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) announced last week (29 November) that it will award outstanding science and technology journalists.The awards are part of a broader partnership between the council and the journalists that could mark an improvement in relations between scientists and journalists in Zambia.
Zambian science journalists have been consistently ignored and barely considered as
professionals. This has contributed to the poor quality of science journalism in the country, criticised for lacking investigative journalism and following government agendas.
The partnership will help scientists and scientific organisations raise the profile of their work, and make it easier for journalists to access information from the NSTC.
According to Dennis Wanchinga, executive secretary of the NSTC, cooperation between the media and the council will help boost the development of science and technology in Zambia.
Sipo Kapumba, an information and research officer at the Media Institute of Southern Africa in Zambia, hopes the awards will spur interest in science and technology reporting in the country.
“So many scientific developments taking place in Zambia go unreported,” he told SciDev.Net. “So how will people support the increased allocation of funds to research institutions if they are not aware of what is going on?”
Zambia’s minister of science and technology, Brian Chituwo, will host the award ceremony. Details of the number of awards and their value are still being discussed, says Phillip Zulu, a science and technology officer at the NSTC.
The NSTC advises the Zambian government on the development and application of science and technology in the country.