South Korea heads World Federation of Science Journalists
South Korea notches a double as it occupies the presidency of the World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ) and again winning the franchise to host the next World Conference of Science Journalists in 2015 (WCSJ2015).
Africa therefore lost another opportunity to host the biannual world’s largest assembly of science journalists conference, despite putting up two of the three bids to host the WCSJ 2015 upcoming event, the WFSJ governing body, selected the Korean Science Journalists Association (KSJA) to host the 9th edition of the conference in Seoul.
Kenya and South Africa lost the host franchise.
The eruption of the Arab Spring previously robbed Egypt from staging the WCSJ2011 event, forcing the general assembly to reschedule the event to Doha, Qatar.
Mr Vesa Niinikangas, the outgoing President of WFSJ told the GNA in an interview that South Korea’s bid was favoured by its potential to raise the Federation’s profile in Asia, which is home to many of the world’s emerging economies.
He added that South Korea had shown that it would work closely with neighbouring countries in Asia.
Kenya’s bid, Niinikangas said, lacked strong global perspective in its proposed conference programme. The board also felt that the two Kenyan science networks behind the bid — the Kenya Environment and Science Journalists Association and Media for Environment, Science, Health and Agriculture — were too young to organise such a meeting.
However, he applauded the fact that Kenya had received the support of other African science journalists associations for its bid, which he said was good for deepening the cooperation among science journalist networks.
Mr Niinikangas said that the bidding team from the South African Science Journalists’ Association (SASJA) lacked racial balance as it contained only two non-white members. The bid also lacked support from other African associations.
The decision to hand WCSJ 2015 to South Korea left many African science journalists unhappy.
Diran Onifade, the President of African Federation of Science Journalists, said it was unfortunate that the board thought that Africa was unable to host the event.
African countries, he said, are capable of staging the conference given that the continent has hosted major international events, including the 2010 football World Cup in South Africa. He added that Kenya is home to many international organisations such as the UN Environment Programme.
Dr Cho Sun, the incoming President of WFSJ thanked members of the General Assembly for the trust reposed in him and pledged to pursue aggressive democratic and capacity building reforms for science journalism in the global sphere to impact the society positively.
He promised to embark of regimes to seek financial autonomy for the Federation’s programmes in attempt to move science journalism to the next level.
Mr Jae-eok Shim, President of the KSJA pledged that the association’s readiness to rally all support, both human and financial to meet its responsibilities and stage an excellent programme in 2015.
The theme for the upcoming WCSJ2015 conference would be, “Expanding our Horizons.”