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Title: Dimensions of radio coverage and content generation of agricultural biotechnology news in Kenya
Authors: Karembu, Margaret
Nguthi, Faith
Nabusoba, Toepista
Oriare, Peter
Nyangaga, Julius
Schaeffer, Heidi
Myers, Mary
Keywords: RADIO
Date: 2011
Publisher: ISAAA AfriCenter, Nairobi,KE
Abstract: This paper presents findings of a just concluded research designed to better understand radio usage in communicating the newly emerging field of agricultural biotechnology in Africa. While various national and international fora have acknowledged the importance of mass media in shaping perceptions and informing decision-making processes, very little has been done to gauge dimensions of coverage and the whole spectrum of content generation and capacities needed in respect to agricultural biotechnology. Quantitative and qualitative content analysis of the coverage of biotechnology issues in nine radio stations and five newspapers in Kenya over a period of one year was conducted. The articles and programmes were written or presented during a period when the country was experiencing heightened media coverage of biotechnology due to debates on enactment of a Biosafety Bill to regulate modern biotechnology. Findings revealed that agricultural biotechnology is not adequately covered by Kenyan media in a way that could enable informed public debate and policy choices. This was demonstrated by few number of items presented, little space allocated and placement of the stories in the newspapers. Radio producers cited various challenges that hindered adequate coverage of biotechnology which included: their low scientific knowledge, scientists’ use of technical jargon and unavailability of experts well versed and confident to speak in local languages. Measures should be taken to improve both quantity and quality of coverage of biotechnology issues by improving relationship between journalists and scientists. Production of a local glossary of biotechnology terms in local languages could greatly enhance confidence of radio producers and presenters. Training of journalists to increase accuracy of coverage and that of scientists on science communication skills cannot be overemphasised.
Project Number: 104490
Project Title: Effects of Radio on Perception of Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa
Access: IDRC Only
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