Final Report Summary - ESJF-ES (European Science Journalism Forum 2010 under the Spanish Presidency)
Delegates to the 'European Congress on Science Journalism and Communication' meeting in Madrid on 12 and 13 May 2010, discussed on the challenges facing science communication in the 21st Century, its social dimension, the role of the media, the functions of the lead players, the research perspective and public perception of science. A total of 250 people took part, of whom 37 were speakers who tool part in the six round table sessions.
One of the main results of this meeting is that is required a broad alliance between the scientific community, the media, science journalists and the authorities responsible for science policy in Europe, in order to strengthen the culture of science among the general public, based on a shared position focused around civic interest in science and technology.
In order to define and establish this alliance, MSF proposed the following recommendations:
1) Governments should adopt effective measures to support public dissemination of science and science journalism and to spread the culture of science.
2) The public sector should promote open knowledge initiatives, facilitating universal access to the results of scientific research, particularly, though not exclusively, research financed from public funds.
3) Public authorities should promote specific programmes to disseminate and provide information about science in the mass media and new.
4) The media, researchers and governments should take advantage and promote the use of resources associated with new information and communication technologies.
5) The media, research centres and governments must help the public to identify and learn about the scientific and technological work being carried out near where they live.
6) Effort should be made to promote and support the role of science journalism associations.
7) Universities should include specific courses focusing on science journalism within their media training programmes, both at degree and postgraduate level. Likewise, professional training programmes need to be designed to help scientists and research acquire the basic communication skills and tools.
8) Research lines in social sciences and information that help lead to a better understanding of science should also be promoted in the areas of scientific communication, public perception of science and science journalism.
9) The scientific community should work harder to provide scientific information of public interest, releasing media information about its research activities and helping the public to understand scientific issues and debates.
10) In particular, scientific institutions should equip themselves with specialised instruments to disseminate science to the public.
11) There is a need for communication companies to develop a new legal framework that includes new modes of financing in order to guarantee quality and independent specialised science journalism.
2- The expected final results and their potential impact and use.
Participants in MSF recognised that science is the Europe's greatest historical contribution to modern civilisation. Regarding the potential impact and use of this project, one of the main conclusions is that Europe must renew its commitment to science, while the scientific community should renew its commitment to the society that finances and supports it. It is essential to boost work to spread the culture of science, and extend access to scientific and technological information and educated participation on behalf of the general public in scientific decisions, by activating the pertinent social and legal structures.
The role of science journalism is gaining in increasing importance against this backdrop, as a link between science and the people.