The Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB)-Kenya Chapter recognized science and business reporters at a media recognition award gala dinner on 20th September 2017, in Nairobi, Kenya. The event brought together a diverse range of stakeholders to celebrate and honor journalists who have used their craft to educated the masses on agricultural biotechnology and biosafety.

Speaking on behalf of the Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Hon. Willy Bett, the Crops Director, State Department of Agriculture Dr. Johnson Irungu commended OFAB-Kenya for continuously engaging agri-biotech stakeholders and using innovative ways to educate the public on GMOs. “OFAB-Kenya has been at the forefront of providing factual information to key stakeholders in order to dispel myths and misconceptions created over the years” he said. “The program’s deliberate effort to engage media practitioners has been very successful in transforming how journalists report on modern biotechnology,” he added.

rsz_dsc_0575 Dr. Irungu making remarks on behalf of the Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Hon. Willy Bett, during the gala

Dr. Margaret Karembu, Director, ISAAA AfriCenter, and OFAB-Kenya Chair appreciated the journalists for walking with OFAB-Kenya over the last decade, stating the partnership has resulted in increased and balanced reporting. “We are proud and honored to recognize journalists who have journeyed with us in sensitizing the public and making agricultural biotechnology a public agenda issue” she said. “This initiative seeks to encourage not only agricultural biotechnology reporting but excellence in science journalism.”

The overall winner, Ms. Zeynab Wandati from Nation Television (NTV), lauded the initiative, “it feels special to be honored for something that we enjoy doing” she said, adding that “such awards serve to encourage reporters in improving their craft to tell better stories that are fact-based.” Winners were drawn from TV, radio and print categories. Entrants to the competition were judged on 6 criteria: consistency, credibility, initiative, completeness and science in the story, human interest and presentation style. The event dubbed “Recognizing Excellence in Science Journalism” was in commemoration of OFAB’s tenth anniversary. It was co-supported by the African Agricultural Technology Foundation and the National Commission for Science Technology and Innovation.

rsz_dsc_0731 Overall winner Ms. Zeynab Wandati (center right), receiving  her cheque during the award ceremony

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