Gabriel Kudaka, a Kenyan journalist with the Nation Media Group, has been feted as the OFAB Africa science journalist of the year. This was during the 2019 Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) Africa Media Awards held on 21st November in Mombasa, Kenya. 

Launched in 2017 by the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) and partners, OFAB Media Awards (OMAs) recognize exemplary journalists that exhibit best practices in credible science reporting. Presently, OMAs rewards African journalists who consistently and effectively report on agricultural biotechnology, building public understanding on the role of the technology in improving food security and sustainable socio-economic development. 

The competition builds up from seven OFAB countries including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Burkina Faso. Country winners in the categories of radio, television, print & online are then nominated to compete for the regional award. Submitted stories are assessed by an independent panel of judges on the basis of scientific accuracy, originality, clarity of interpretation, initiative and value in fostering a better public understanding of agricultural biotechnology and its impact on the society. 

At OMAs 2019, David Rwenyagira from Tanzania took first position in the radio category, Abdullahi Tsanni from Nigeria won the print and online category while Kenya’s Gabriel Kudaka scooped both top award in television category and OFAB Africa journalist of the year.

image1From Left; David Rwenyagira, winner radio category, Gabriel Kudaka, winner television category and OFAB Africa journalist of the year, Abdullahi Tsanni, winner print and online category.

Presenting the prime award to Mr. Kudaka, Dr. Denis Kyetere, Executive Director AATF emphasized the need for continued factual reporting on agricultural biotechnology. “Through responsible, evidence-based reporting, journalists play a critical role in promoting constructive dialogue on modern biotechnology”, he added.

image2Dr. Denis Kyetere, Executive Director AATF (left) presenting Mr. Gabriel Kudaka (right) with OFAB Africa Journalist of the Year Award

With over ten years of experience in media, Mr. Kudaka has a great passion in reporting on agriculture, biotechnology, environment, health and social development issues. Most of his stories have featured on NTV Kenya Food Friday Program, with a special focus on modern technologies for agricultural transformation and food security. Over the past year, Mr. Kudaka has been consistent in reporting on the progress Kenya is making in research and development of biotech products.

The OFAB Africa journalist of 2019 urged his fellow journalists to step up efforts in bridging the gap between science and society, emphasizing that the media holds great power in shaping public opinion on topical issues in Africa. “It is our responsibility to deliver factual information to the audience, enhancing awareness, knowledge and evidence-based decision making”, he added.