How the Corona epidemic contributed to the development of Arabic scientific media sciences

How the Corona epidemic contributed to the development of Arabic scientific media  sciences
How the Corona epidemic contributed to the development of Arabic scientific media  sciences

How the Corona epidemic contributed to the development of Arabic scientific media sciences

The beginnings of the prosperity of Arab science media lie in the involvement of science journalists in the activities of the International Federation of Science Journalists, which organized the first training course for journalists in the Arab world and Africa from 2007 to the end of 2009.

The Arab science media lives in a new dynamic period that it has not known before and it is no exaggeration if we say that today it has become one of the most active and important Arab media disciplines in terms of networking between journalists, seminars and training courses , organization of conferences and other events.

The expansion of social media on the internet and then the spread of the Corona virus played a huge role in supporting Arabic science media, highlighting its importance and launching new scientific headlines that added value in exchange for creating scientific content a new one Generation of pioneers in science communication, the simplification of science and the integration of international and Arab cultural institutions and scientific bodies in the funding path.

A march of two decades

The beginnings of the flourishing of Arabic science media were with the involvement of science journalists in action International Association of Science Journalists From 2007 to 2009 he organized and offered the first training course for journalists in the Arab world and Africa in the three languages ​​Arabic, French and English Arabic version From an electronic training program on his website.

This course was one of the strongest that Arab science journalists could have, as 60 journalists took part, and because it was successful, the program was reorganized between 2010 and 2013.

A year earlier, in December 2006, the “Arab Association for Scientific Journalists” was founded, which came into being as a group on the Internet in 2003 and was then officially founded under the umbrella of the “Arab Foundation for Science and Technology” at its meeting in Damascus that day held conference.

Although its luster has faded today, the League has undertaken many activities such as overseeing the publication of the first Arabic Scholarly Media Educational Guide and also organizing the First Arabic Scholarly Media Conference in Fez, Morocco in 2008. The Ninth International Conference on Scientific Media, the first international scientific media conference organized by Al-Arabi worldwide, was held in Qatar in 2011 in the presence of 30 Arab science journalists.

The two Egyptian journalists Buthaina Osama (one of the founders of the Arab League of Science Journalists) and Saad Lotfi (one of the founders of the Egyptian and then the Arab Science Week) started with the spread of the corona virus. Scientific media forum The annual Internet Science Journalism Forum, attended by science journalists from different countries around the world, is recognized as one of the most important opportunities for Arab science journalists to hone their talents and network their relationships.

The Arab Association of Science Writers published the first Arabic educational guide in the field in 2008 (network pages)

This period is also referred to as release Arab Science Week andArab Forum for Media and Science Communication They take place once a year, followed by workshops and scientific meetings as part of the activities of the Arab Forum on Science and Science Communication, all organized by the science communication specialist institution “SicomX”.

Buthaina Osama says: “In 2022, the forum was followed by about 1,550 individuals and 180 participants from about 150 countries, activating 93 sessions in 5 languages ​​(Arabic, French, English, Spanish and Portuguese). We have also organized – further on the fringes of the forum – 80 meetings where the main scientific issues of interest to science journalists will be discussed.

Commenting on the reality of the Arabic scientific media, Buthaina Osama said: “The emergence of this specialty is long since it dates back to 1865, the date of the launch of the first scientific journal, and it in the field of medicine and dissemination of the culture of health to the general readership, and the path of scholarly media development has always been an ebb and flow, depending on the conditions and interests of the general public.

And she continued: “My experience of scientific media started in the early 2000s on the Islam Online website, and I was one of the participants in the founding of the Arab Association of Science Journalists, whose aim was to improve the skills of journalists develop and network, and it was all under the umbrella of the International Federation of Science Journalists. Today the association is active, it has been suspended for a period of time for many reasons, and perhaps the day will come when we will revive it.”

How the Corona epidemic contributed to the development of Arabic scientific media  sciences
The Corona epidemic and the resort to digital activities gave a boost to scientific media worldwide and in the Arab world (Shutterstock)

The corona epidemic and the two world climate summits in the Arab region

The spread of the Corona epidemic has been a major reason for the return of interest in scientific media, especially in its health-related aspect.

Buthaina Osama says: “During the time of the spread of the Corona virus, the scientific media has picked up a lot of momentum, and perhaps it has also been an exaggeration, and the need for qualified science journalists and the attention to their training and skills in the world and in the Arabic created space.”

And then came the idea with colleague Saad Lutfi to set up the Science Media Forum, which we organized a few days ago in its third edition, as well as the Arabic Forum for Science and Science Communication, and it is noticeable that the two forums are more interested attract and specialists in the field of science communication.

Buthaina added with great optimism: “We still live in a dynamic of interest in scientific and environmental media, especially since the Arab region hosts the world climate conference in Egypt and then next year in the Emirates… the moment is crucial. He should be the easiest journalist to replace.”

The British Council trained dozens of Arab journalists and launched a practical scholarly guide (websites)

Involvement of institutions and committees in the support activities

The increasing interest of the general public in scientific media and the increasing need for the presence of science journalists in the Arab region prompted governmental and non-governmental bodies and organizations to direct their support towards training journalists and building their capacity through the organization of workshops and training courses their benefit.

Among these bodies that have contributed to the training of science journalists we find, for example, the British Council and the German Goethe Institute in Egypt, which published A Guide to Science JournalismAs well as the American University in Cairo, the French Agency for Media Cooperation and the International Journalists Network (IJNET), which have excelled in organizing training courses and publishing educational media guides.

Muhammad al-Sunbati, one of the founders of the Arab Forum for Media and Science Communication, is among the science journalists who have contributed to the program of the British Council and the German Goethe University to train Arab science journalists. institute.

He tells Al-Jazeera Net via email that “the spread of the corona virus has helped launch many initiatives and training courses to build capacity in science journalism and we have taken many courses in it.”

He added: “With Egypt hosting the global conference on climate change this year, followed by the United Arab Emirates, attention has focused on environmental issues, particularly climate change, which is considered one of the hottest scientific topics in the world and the world apply to the Arab region.”

The French agency for media development organized a training program and published a guide on climate journalism (Al-Jazeera).

Al-Sunbati concludes: “As a science journalist and science journalism and science media trainer, I worked with the British Council in Egypt to implement a science journalism training program launched two years ago, which aimed to enable non-specialist Arab journalists to develop their skills develop to cover scientific topics in general and Corona in particular, and this year focused on the topic of climate change and organized training workshops in this area.

There are also regional and international bodies that contribute to the training of science journalists, such as the French agency for media development, which organized and published a training program in journalism for environmental solutions from 2020 to the end of 2021 A handbook on climate journalism. The International Journalists Network also played a clear role in training journalists by organizing training workshops in climate journalism Follow the climate summit in Egypt.

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