In line with its mandate to promote Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), recently organised a one day capacity training programme for media practitioners on Science and Technology reporting.
NOTAP has the mandate to promote STI in the country through the sensitisation of industry stakeholders on the process of technology identification, assessment, adaptation, transfer and domestication, and decided to extend same to the media on capacity building.
Speaking at the capacity building workshop that was held in Lagos, Director-General of NOTAP, Dr. Umar Bindir, said the training became necessary because of the important role of the media in nation building.
According to him, "The Nigerian public has been critical of the existence of science and technology institutions. Nations like Malaysia, China, Korea and India have used the instruments of science and technology to advance into the first world, and science and technology institutions like NOTAP have brilliant development programmes, which the public needs to be well informed about."
He however insisted that for such developmental programmes to gain consciousness in the minds of Nigerians, the media has to be well informed since it is its duty to disseminate information to the general public, hence the need for the capacity building programme specifically designed for the media in science and technology reporting.
In his opening address, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Rabi Shuaibu Jimeta, said the training programme was an expedient institutional reform and strategic platform for members of the media, because of their societal role in informing and building the nation.
"There is a growing understanding within the scientific community on the recurring need to strengthen linkages, partnerships and networks with media practitioners, as critical stakeholders, who are also the acknowledged information gate-keepers.
This partnership is essentially critical towards effectively stimulating, documenting, translating and communicating Science, Technology and Innovation to the public," Jimeta said.
She explained that technology information could effectively impact on national development only when it is properly and consistently communicated to all and sundry, the reason, she said, largely motivated NOTAP to organise the training.
Resource persons were drawn from industry practitioners as well as professionals, to deliver papers on science and technology reporting and on how to tackle the challenges of media reporting.
Former Head of Mass Communication Department, University of Lagos, Dr. Ralph Akinfeleye, who chaired the training workshop, applauded NOTAP for its consistency in organising media workshop for science and technology reporters.
Speaking on the importance of technology reporting in journalism, Akinfeleye said the Mass Communication Department of the University of Lagos has made it compulsory for every student of the department to take and pass a course in science and technology reporting before graduating.
Head, Science & Education, Independent Newspapers, Mr. Onche Odeh, spoke on the connectivity between science, technology and the media, while Head, Public Relations for NOTAP, Mr. Adokiye Dagogo-Geroge, delivered a paper on: 'Communicating Science and Technology to Policy Makers: The Methodologies.'
Acting Director at NOTAP, Dr. Ephraim Okejiri, delivered a paper on 'The Rationale and Challenges of Registration and Monitoring of Technology Transfer Agreements.'
Media participants at the workshop were pleased with the training, and demanded that such training be held regularly.