Abdullahi Tsanni, a freelance science journalist and reporter of African Newspage, has emerged winner of the 2019 Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) in Africa media awards, for print and online category, at an event held Thursday, at the Saravo Whitesands Hotel, in Mombasa, Kenya.
The Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) in Africa`s annual media award is an initiative of the Nairobi-based African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) aimed at “celebrating excellence in science journalism” as well as recognizing the works of journalists in promoting agricultural biotechnologies on the continent.
Tsanni was one of 21 finalists from across the 7 OFAB countries in Africa namely Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, and Burkina Faso. A 2019 Fellow of the African Science Literacy Network (ASLN), he was also one of 20 African journalists selected to attend the World Federation of Science Journalists’ science reporting workshop in the United Kingdom, held in March, 2019.
He recently emerged OFAB Nigeria`s Journalist of the Year 2019 for his story titled: “GMO debate affects public sentiment in Nigeria,” published by the Cornell Alliance for Science, an independent US-based media platform focused on reporting issues around science and agricultural biotechnologies around the world. Tsanni subsequently took home the first position in Africa, in the print and online category, after keenly contesting it with journalists from across six other OFAB countries on the continent.
Gabriel Kudaka from Kenya won the overall OFAB Africa Journalist of the Year and was also winner in the TV category while 1st runner up in the TV category was Ayoola Kasim from Nigeria. Ronald Musoke from Uganda was 1st runner up in the print and online category while David Rwenyagira from Tanzania won in the radio category and Some Besaoula from Burkina Faso was 1st runner up in the radio category.
Speaking on behalf of the judges at the awards ceremony, Eugenia Abu, a veteran Nigerian journalist cum multimedia strategist said the awards symbolized ‘excellence in science journalism’ adding that the criteria that guided the judges’ decision were: clarity i.e breaking down of scientific jargons and terms; the use of the finest resource persons in the field in science stories; as well as multiple level of engagements with scientists, policymakers and the public, particularly ordinary citizens.
“[The] use of innovation and initiative cannot be overemphasized and those who made it to the finals stood out in all of these criteria and more. Thus, they have been found worthy; we congratulate all of them and urge for more synergy between science and journalism to enable the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) and the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) in Africa, promote better lives for small-holder farmers on the continent through technology,” said Abu.
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