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Nation hopes to host journalism conference
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-10-06 10:13

China will learn Wednesday whether it will hold its first international journalists' conference - the fifth World Conference of Science Journalists (WCSJ) - in 2006.

The nation made its bid to host the gathering at the fourth WCSJ, currently taking place in Montreal, Canada.

"China has the world's fastest developing science and technology and the one of the largest groups of science writers," said Zhao Zhongying, vice-president of the Chinese Society for Science and Technology Journalism.

Zhao told the Meeting for Executives of the Worldwide National Associations, taking place at the fourth WCSJ, that China's "hosting of a big journalist conference like the WCSJ will be quite significant both for the country and the world." The fourth WCSJ opened in Montreal on Monday and concludes on Friday. More than 300 science reporters, scholars, government officials and members of non-government organizations (NGO) from across the world are taking part.

China is competing with Italy, Spain, Australia and Germany to hold the fifth WCSJ. The result will be announced by the World Federation of Science Journalists today (local time).

"Although we are not financially stronger than other candidate countries, we have our certain advantages, including the massive support of the Chinese Government and our status as a rapidly developing country," Zhao said.

Compared with industrialized societies, developing countries more urgently need good science reporting. This means that hosting such an event in China will help improve science journalism, Zhao told China Daily on the sidelines of the conference.

China's science and technology have witnessed rapid development in recent years, with growing government investment and more overseas trained scientists returning to the country. It is the only developing country with a human genome programme, which released its findings in early 2003. China also successfully launched its first manned spacecraft Shenzhou-V in October 2003.

However, its science media has not developed as quickly as its technological progress. Wang Yusheng, director of the China Science and Technology Museum, estimated that by 2003, scientific reports accounted for just 0.6 per cent of the total content of China's TV programmes.

"Hosting a WCSJ meeting will help promote China's science media and raise the level of public interest," Zhao said.

China has increased its efforts to improve international co-operation in science journalism in recent years. The nation will host the fourth Asia-Pacific Symposium on Press and Scientific and Social Progress between November 18 and 20 in Beijing.

Zhao was echoed by Veronique Morin, president of the World Federation of Science Journalists.

Supporting developing countries to improve their capacity in science reporting has long been a goal of the federation, Morin told the opening ceremony of the fourth WCSJ.

"Helping developing countries is like the old proverb: A single light in one place will bring brightness everywhere," Morin said.

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