Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS)

One-Day Seminar on Science Journalism

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The Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in South (COMSATS) in partnership with the ECO Science Foundation (ECOSF) organized a one-day Seminar on ‘Science Communication and Journalism’, on April 8, 2014 in Islamabad, Pakistan. The Federal Secretary, Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, Government of Pakistan, Dr. Nazir Saeed presided over the inaugural ceremony of the Seminar, which had participation of over 70 media representatives, scientists, faculty members of media sciences, university students, web-based forums, and officials of COMSATS Headquarters and ECO Science Foundation.

Speaking at the inauguration, Dr. Saeed urged the Pakistani national media to devote at least five per cent of their media space to project science and technology research and advancements to create a culture of science in the country. He opined that national media can play an important role in building scientific culture among the masses by sensitizing them about the scientific and technological advancements and their impact on the life of a common man. He pledged his Ministry’s support to any initiatives proposed in this regard.

The Executive Director COMSATS, Dr. Imtinan Elahi Qureshi, and the President ECOSF, Dr. Manzoor Hussain Soomro, highlighted the importance of the theme of the event in their addresses during the ceremony. Sharing the scope and modus operandi of his organization for promoting science for sustainable development, Dr. Qureshi informed that COMSATS has been engaged in various activities of fundamental importance to the working scientists, including repair and maintenance of scientific equipment at laboratory facilities of educational and research organizations. The work of scientific institutions, he believed, mostly remains under-reported, which is discouraging for the scientific organizations based in Pakistan. Noting the inadequate coverage of science related activities in the local media, he stressed creating triangular relationship between the scientists, journalists and public for effectively communicating the benefits of science and technology to society. On similar lines, Dr. Soomro considered the seminar an important initiative for starting a campaign in the subject area, which has been overlooked for a long time. He called for institutional arrangements involving relevant stakeholders, especially scientific and academic organizations in Pakistan, in order to encourage science journalism in the country. He further noted that there is a silver lining to the situation due to sporadic efforts of some individuals. He urged Dr. Saeed for the Government’s support to such initiatives and their follow-ups.

The three technical sessions of the event covered the fundamentals of Science Journalism, contemporary issues and the role of various media for science communication. Chief Editor monthly ‘Global Science’, Karachi, Mr. Aleem Ahmed; and Editorial Consultant Express Tribune, Mr. M. Khalid Rahman, delivered keynote lectures on the basics of science writings and communication. Other presenters of the event included: Freelance Science Journalist, Mr. Ameen Amjad Khan; Lecturer Fatima Jinnah Women University, Mrs. Saadia Ishtiaq Nauman; Editor weekly Technology Times, Pakistan, and CEO TechTV, Mr. Sayyed Paras Ali; and Mr. Iqbal Jamil, Director Institute of Communication and Media Studies, Ziauddin University, Karachi (Pakistan). These presentations explored ways to promoting science through the existing means and knowledge resources; the need for curriculum development for Science Journalism and the electronic media’s role in the advocacy of science.

The seminar also included speakers from Italy, and USA via Skype. Speaking from Italy, Mr. Edward W. Lempinen, Public Information Officer at The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), talked about science policy, diplomacy and education in the developing world, and acknowledged the invaluable contributions of the eminent Pakistani scientist and Nobel Laureate, Dr. Abdus Salam towards the uplift of science in the developing world. Ms. Joanne Manaster, Faculty Lecturer, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA, highlighted the multi-faceted role of social media in driving change in modern-day science. Ms. Shireen Gul, Copy-editor of a student newspaper, TechNews of the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), USA, made a presentation on ‘Science Journalism for Social Media’.

The event concluded with a roundtable discussion on a high note of appreciation from the speakers and the participants. Dr. Anwar Nasim, Secretary General, Pakistan Academy of Sciences, made a candid analysis of the situation of the Science Journalism in Pakistan and called for a thrust to sensitize media houses to project science and scientists. Moderated by the Executive Director COMSATS, the discussions made by the speakers and participants called for: unrelenting follow-ups on the recommendations of the seminar; necessary training for scientists to write in terms comprehensible by the public at large; greater involvement of academia at all levels in developing a scientific culture through journalism; and collaboration among scientists and journalists to furnish write-ups with authentic and accurate yet simplified and relatable scientific information for the masses.

An important pledge made during the discussion related to the formulation of a Science Journalist Association of Pakistan, the participants pledged to immediately initiate work to make such an institutional arrangement possible, and COMSATS agreed to provide patronage to the online presence of such a forum, directed towards building capacities of Science writers, reporters and journalists.

Upcoming Events

The 22nd Meeting of COMSATS Coordinating Council, 16-17 April 2019, Tianjin, China
Apr 16 – Apr 17 all-day

The Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS) is pleased to announce the convening of the 22nd meeting of its Coordinating Council scheduled to be held in Tianjin, China, on 16 – 17 April 2019. The meeting will be hosted by COMSATS’ Centre of Excellence, the Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology (TIB), Chinese Academy of Sciences, China. The meeting programme includes a visit to TIB’s laboratories on 18th April 2019.

The Coordinating Council meets every year, inter alia, to: review the activities of COMSATS’ Network; follow up on the decisions and recommendations made in the previous meeting; and outline the future course of action.

Invitations and Confirmation of Participation

The Executive Director COMSATS has extended invitations to all members of the Coordinating Council. The representatives of some international partner organizations have also been invited to participate in the meeting as Observers.

COMSATS Headquarters is closely coordinating with the host institution (TIB) to ensure timely arrangements.

Agenda and Working Paper

The provisional Agenda of the meeting has been prepared. The detailed Working Paper and associated documents of the meeting are under preparation and will be electronically distributed to the Council members and other invitees during first half of March 2019.

For further details, please contact:

COMSATS Secretariat, Pakistan TIB, China

Mr. Tajammul Hussain
Advisor (Programmes)
COMSATS Headquarters
Shahrah-e-Jamhuriat, G-5/2
Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: (+92-51) 9204892
Fax: (+92-51) 9216539

Mr. Farhan Ansari
Sr. Assistant Director (Programmes)
COMSATS Headquarters
Shahrah-e-Jamhuriat, G-5/2
Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: (+92-51) 9214515-7
Fax: (+92-51) 9216539

Prof. Dr. Jibin Sun
Deputy Director-General
Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology (TIB), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)
Tianjin, China
32 West 7th Avenue, Tianjin Airport Economic Area, Tianjin 300308, China
Tel: 0086-22-84861949
Fax: 0086-22-84861943

Ms. Qianqian Chai
Officer of Foreign Affairs and Academic Exchange
Division of Science and Technology Development
Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology (TIB), Chinese Academy of Sciences(CAS)
32 West 7th Avenue, Tianjin Airport Economic Area, Tianjin 300308, China
Tel: +86-2284861925