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08.07.2005 General News

Researchers meet the Media to bridge gap

By GNA

Accra, July 8, GNA - Researchers and Media Practitioners have agreed to collaborate to disseminate research findings among the generality of the population to engender socio-economic development of the country.

The decision to work together to ensure that research findings did not gather dust on the shelves of research institution but put to use for the advancement of the society was taken at a day's roundtable in Accra between the two on Friday.

The meeting recognised the fact that Researchers and Media Practitioners could form a powerful alliance that could positively influence changes in polices to improve the lives of the people. The meeting, organised by the International Institute for Information Technology with sponsorship from the Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC), was aimed at exploring the state of the media use of research finings and the relationship between the two. It was also to find ways of how the media could effectively communicate research findings to the public.

The meeting identified that the relationship between the research community and the media was very complex, delicate and most of time unpredictable.

Ms Ajoa Yeboah Afari, President of the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA), speaking on: "The Media and the Research Community", acknowledged the important role the media could play in disseminating research findings to effect some policy change in the development of the nation adding that it was therefore necessary for researchers not to feel shy to approach the media with their findings.

She said there were many research findings that were gathering dust on the shelves of the research institutions, which when brought to the public domain could effect positive changes in the society.

Mentioning the challenges the media went through in getting information from researchers, Ms Yeboah Afari urged researchers to open their doors and build the relationships for their mutual benefit.

Dr Joseph Gogo, Director, Science and Technology Policy Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), speaking on: "The Researcher and the Media", said local research finding had not been used because there was over reliance on foreign expertise. He reiterated the need for partnership between the researchers and the media to develop strategies that would move research forward. Ms Chantal Schryer, Director of Communications, IDRC, Ottawa, said healthy democracies depended on the freedom of the media and researchers to undertake research and publish their findings on sensitive issues that might not necessarily be on the same line as government policy.

She said there was no automatic translation of research into policy because of the perception of some policy and decision-makers of the value of research.

"Whilst some think research takes too long, does not address primary concerns, others think it is insufficiently applicable and this is because research findings are not widely disseminated and strategically enough to influence policy."

Ms Schryer noted that researchers and journalists were thought provokers and a major force to reconcile with and called on researchers to build relationships with journalists and learn to communicate their research results that would change the course of policies.

She urged journalists to report effectively on research findings to ensure that changes occurred for the betterment of the society. The Media Practitioners called on Researchers to open up, breakdown their scientific jargons so that the journalists could understand for them to disseminate it for optimum results.

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