OPEN FORUM ON AGRICULTURE BIOTECHNOLOGY (OFAB) ANNUAL MEDIA AWARDS 2022: OPEN CALL FOR ENTRIES FROM JOURNALISTS REPORTING ON SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURAL BIOTECHNOLOGIES

Introduction

OFAB-Malawi Chapter is calling for entries from all journalists reporting on sustainable agricultural biotechnologies for the OFAB Annual Media Awards for 2022. The Awards will be at OFAB-Malawi Chapter level and later culminate into the OFAB-Africa Media Awards.

The OFAB-Malawi Chapter is hosted by the National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST) with support from African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF). NCST was established by the Science and Technology Act No.16 of 2003 as an umbrella body responsible for promoting, supporting, coordinating and regulating the development and application of research, science, technology and innovation in order to create wealth and improve the quality of life. Over the years, NCST has played major roles in setting up biotechnology and biosafety frameworks and supported research and innovation for genetically modified crops in the country. These are in line with the aspirations of the country through both MIP-1 and MW 2063, which recognises the role of science, technology and innovation, in the attainment of the three key pillars namely: Agriculture Productivity and Commercialisation, Industrialisation and Urbanisation for creation of an inclusively wealthy and self-reliant nation. 

The AATF is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to facilitate sustainable access of agricultural technologies to smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. Driven by a vision of sustainable food security and agriculture-driven economic development in Africa, AATF established Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) in 2006, to enhances knowledge and awareness on agricultural biotechnology and to build understanding of the technology and inform decision making.

About OFAB

OFAB operates in ten countries: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Rwanda, Mozambique, and Malawi. It is a partnership platform that contributes to creation of an enabling environment for biotechnology research, development, and deployment for the benefit of smallholder farmers in Africa. The OFAB-Malawi Chapter is therefore, critical in bridging the information gap, between the scientists, farmers, and the general public. 

About OFAB Media Awards (OMAs)

The OFAB Media Awards (OMAs) are aimed at recognizing exemplary journalism that exhibits best practices in credible science reporting that is crucial to better public understanding and acceptance of sciences, technologies and innovations that are needed to transform African agriculture for food security, sustainable development and poverty eradication.

The specific objectives of the Awards are to; i) promote excellence in science journalism and appreciate the contribution of journalists in promoting sustainable agricultural technologies particularly agricultural biotechnology and ii) reward the critical roles played by journalists in promoting constructive dialogue on modern biotechnology through responsible, professional, ethical, and effective reporting.

The OFAB-Chapter Awards culminates into the OFAB Africa Media Awards contest that brings together OFAB country level finalists from which the overall winners are selected in the categories of: Television, Radio and Print & Online.

Eligibility

  1. Malawian journalists who have been reporting on agricultural biotechnology in the country.
  2. Articles submitted for consideration should have been published within the past 1 year to the date of submission (30 August, 2022).
  3. The applicant must be accredited with Media Council of Malawi.
  4. Categories for the award will be:
  • Print and Online (Newspapers, Magazine and Online)
  • Radio (Audio or podcast) and
  • Television

Scoring
An independent judging committee will select the winning entries based on:

  1. Scientific accuracy
  2. Initiative
  3. Originality
  4. Clarity of interpretation
  5. Value in fostering a better public understanding of agricultural biotechnology and its impact in the society

Prizes

Each category will produce 1) category winner, 2) runner-up.  The winners of each category will be eligible to participate in OFAB Africa Media Wards (OMAs) scheduled for end of the year in the country to be announced. The following prizes will be given:

  1. Winner: (Trophy and prize money of $750)
  2. Runner-up: (Trophy and prize money) of $450)

Submission Modalities

Journalists are encouraged to ensure the following when submitting their entries:

  1. Articles should be not older than 1 year on the date on submission for entry.
  2. Provide links to published articles. The URL should be from a media house and not a personal blog.
  3. Provide YouTube and SoundCloud links to TV and Radio stories respectively,
  4. Provide links to maximum of 3 of their best self-appraised articles or stories.
  5. The entries (active links) should be submitted online through E-mail: (lkampira@ncst.mw and ychimbalanga@ncst.mw)
  6. If an entry is not accessible online, scanned articles should be submitted through E-mail: (lkampira@ncst.mw and ychimbalanga@ncst.mw)
  7. Entries should be submitted no later than 30 September 2022.
  8. Submit a brief synopsis (about 150 words) of the winning stories,
  9. Provide about 150-word professional biography,
  10. Submit a brief 200-word piece explaining the motivation for each story,
  11. Provide digital passport size photo,
  12. Submit copy of national ID/Passport and
  13. Provide evidence of Media Accreditation/Membership of a National Media Association.