Scientists, media professionals, and agricultural journalists highlighted evidence-based media reporting in a knowledge-sharing programme titled “Knowledge Sharing & Capacity building on Agricultural Media Reporting” held on April 19, 2022, at Nirvana Inn Hotel, Sylhet. The event, organized for agricultural journalists of Sylhet Division, was aimed to enhance skills in evidence-based reporting for a better understanding of modern agricultural innovations including modernization and commercialization of agriculture, genetic engineering, climate change, nutrition, and food security issues.
More than 30 journalists from 27 print and electronic media from Sylhet Division participated in the program organized by Farming Future Bangladesh (FFB). Media personnel interacted with speakers and shared their views on the status, prospects, and challenges of agricultural biotechnology.
Md. Arif Hossain, CEO and Executive Director of the FFB, inaugurated the training program by thanking all the participants, panelists, and other dignitaries. “Farming Future Bangladesh is working to improve public perception about the benefits of modern agricultural innovations for sustainable food security in Bangladesh”, he said.
He added, “Media and communication professionals play a vital and complementary role in information dissemination and extension of modern agricultural innovation. Sharing evidence and authentic information can be beneficial for farmers and consumers”. Later, he invited the participating journalists to work together to establish and improve the enabling environment for research and innovation in food and security issues.
Dr. Md. Tofazzal Islam, Professor & Director of Institute of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, BSMMU, stressed spearheading accurate scientific information and avoiding conspiracy theories in the light of agricultural development. “Biotechnology has enormous potential, and we should invest more in research and innovation to develop our capacity to address future food security challenges, " he said in his session.
“Journalists should practice data-driven reporting. Agricultural innovations and newer technologies like gene editing are revolving every day to ensure food and security issues. As journalists, we should focus onevidence-based information and be more careful in disseminating accurate information,”said renowned journalist and Executive Editor from Dhaka Tribune, Reaz Ahmad.
In a training session, M. Abdul Momin, Senior Communication Officer, Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI), highlighted the importance of nutrition enriched rice. He mentioned, ‘After the Philippines, the commercial release of Golden rice can be a hope for Bangladesh to address vitamin A deficiency.’
In the end, participating journalists concurred that agricultural news needs to be data-driven, and correctly represent the science. They also highlighted the importance of the media staying updated with the fast-paced innovations in agriculture at national and international levels.
Farming Future Bangladesh has been actively engaging journalists and sectoral experts for skill development and improved access to agricultural innovations. The science-based organization organized similar capacity-building programs and provided training to more than 100 agricultural journalists of Dhaka, Rajshahi, Rangpur, and Khulna divisions. It also awarded Media Fellowship to six agricultural journalists in 2021.
Farming Future Bangladesh (FFB) is a comprehensive communication and community engagement organization, aimed to improve access to modern agricultural innovations including crop biotechnology for sustainable food security in Bangladesh. Based in Dhaka, it operates in collaboration with Alliance for Science, Boyce Thomson Institute, Cornell University and Michigan State University.