555   Insight talk

South African factors that shape transformation of science-society relations: A case study on how to democratise and transform science communication through the use of diverse indigenous languages in the media.

Author: Zamuxolo Matiwana
South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement , South Africa

As one of the cornerstone institutions in most democratic countries most citizens consume the media in order to be informed about what is happening locally and worldwide. More particularly, for most educated citizens, the media becomes is an accessible source of information about science and technology.

In this regard, science journalism and science communication play a crucial role in informing and educating citizenry about scientific advancements and allowing them to make informed decisions.

In South Africa, the mainstream media, especially print media, is mostly dominated by English and Afrikaans-speaking media houses. Few communicate in indigenous languages, thus marginalising and disenfranchising a large proportion of the population. This is more prominent in most developing countries like South Africa where there is a pervasive lack of science coverage, with burgeoning community media outlets and of the biggest public broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) providing content predominantly focused on entertainment, sport, religion and politics.

This paper will analyse the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement’s (SAASTA) Science and Technology Journalism Internship Programme that aims to encourage the community media to cover science and technology in indigenous languages.  In particular, the paper seeks to explore community media science coverage in indigenous languages and how it contributes to democratise science communication. As such, this paper   With a special focus on the medium of radio, the paper will show how radio contributes toward a dialogue model which helps to democratise the media space as well as contribute to science journalism and the science communication body of knowledge.

Radio is an important media in developing countries like South Africa, due to a high rate of illiteracy. Especially community radio stations that broadcast in indigenous languages, they improve access into information.  

KEY WORDS:

Community Media, Democratisation of science, Indigenous languages, Radio, Science Communication and Science Journalism.

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