Bangladesh Needs Critical Science Journalism for Renaissance in Science and Technology
Md.Kamruzzaman Pramanik, PhD: Science and technology have been lagged behind in most of the developing countries including Bangladesh. All the developed countries have made significant advances in science and technology and they are getting the benefit applying science as much as they can. Actually, developed countries are taking advantages by being the producers, users or consumers as well as sellers of different sorts of scientific technologies and commodities. On the other hand, we are getting the advantages of science and technology at the secondary stage being only the users or consumers of it. There are multiple reasons that can be mentioned behind these laggings e.g., weak R&D strategy, limited investment/ budget in R&D purpose, complex procurement system, brain drain, etc. Besides these, limited or inadequate focusing on different aspects of science and technology in different mass media (e.g. print media, electronic and web media etc.) is also another important reason. Science and technology news comes to and fro randomly. However, these are very scanty in comparison to the need, necessary for further analysis or assessment.
Science journalism can play a very important role to improve this situation. Science journalism is a branch of journalism that conveys the scientific information to the public or mass level in a very comprehensive way with proper analysis, impact and importance of any scientific issue. Superficial writings are not often useful. For example, an ordinary reporter writing on a road accident can only inform us about the misshapen (e.g., no. of injury, dead, time etc.), but a columnist particularly skilled on transport system writing on the same issue may contribute a lot by suggesting how to improve the total transport system, by criticizing or instigating the responsible authority of national transport system and he can also give some indications to develop a safe transport system. In the same way, ordinary reporting of a scientific finding misses very important in depth views and we get information superficially. On the other hand, reporting of a scientific finding with critical analysis, assessment and probable impact can raise awareness to the public as well as to the government and understanding of a scientific issue may greatly help to pave the way of the finding for its practical application and all is only possible for a journalist who is professionally skilled in science journalism.
A science writer can easily disseminate news of scientific findings and their impacts in a comprehensive manner to the peoples of all stages; he can play a great role in motivating the public and policy makers for increasing the budget allocation for different R&D projects. He can contribute to make national research plan or R&D strategy by collecting and disseminating valuable opinions from research scholars of different fields. Thus a science writer can also help to make rationale guidelines for investment and selection of potential fields of R&D activities in the national level.
In conclusion, developing countries have a scope to develop science journalism and this wing of journalisms can be strengthened by forming an association as found in the developed countries (e.g., European Union of Science Journalist’s Association in EU, National Association of Science Writers in USA) and our neighbor India (e.g., Indian Science Communication Society in India etc.). Their professional skill can be developed up to mark by providing long or short term training or education so that they can contribute a lot in the renaissance of science and technology in developing countries by disseminating their professional knowledge in science journalism through different kinds of media.
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