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Filter by author: Ivan Nathanael Lukanda

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Jan 16, 2023 Article
Media as mediators in a science-based issue: politics, foreign influence and implications on adoption of Genetically Modified Organisms in food production in Uganda

by Ivan Nathanael Lukanda, Sara Namusoga-Kaale and George Claassen

The paper highlights the feedback loop between media, politics, foreign influence and science in relation to the adoption of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in food production in Uganda to demonstrate that socio-cultural considerations are important in the GMO science and technology debates. Based on the science-in-society model, the findings from a content analysis of newspaper articles over a four-year period, supplemented by interviews with scientists, activists from non-governmental organisations, journalists, and Members of Parliament's Science and Technology Committee, the study found that food is a politically thick issue. Both activists and scientists opportunistically use the media, the platforms where the public access and contribute content, to appeal to the politicians to legislate GMOs in their favour, arguing that the activists or the scientists' position is in the `public interest'. Often, such coverage produces a paradox for the public by accelerating uncertainty regarding the science and the products of genetic modification, especially when politicians fail to decide for fear of the political implications of their action as is the case in Uganda.

Volume 22 • Issue 01 • 2023

May 05, 2021 Article
Female voices marginalised in media coverage of science in Uganda, both as authors and sources

by Ivan Nathanael Lukanda

Studies on women's marginalisation as authors and sources of science stories in the media in developing countries are few, and fewer in the context of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Using feminist media theory, this study surmises that women are accordingly underrepresented in GMO stories. Based on a content analysis of 317 stories published in two Ugandan newspapers, findings indicate that chances of females being published as authors and sources increase if they collaborate with a male. There is a need for female scientists to collaborate with male counterparts and journalists to increase their visibility in the media in an agricultural sector where women are great contributors to the labourforce.

Volume 20 • Issue 02 • 2021

Nov 24, 2020 Commentary
Activists as strategic science communicators on the adoption of GMOs in Uganda

by Ivan Nathanael Lukanda

This commentary uses a case study of Uganda and the country's attempts to adopt genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to demonstrate how activists have become communicators of scientific knowledge in the digital age. The digital age allows activists to share their information and collaborate with those who can push their agenda. I argue that anti-GMO activists have positioned themselves as influencers in a debate where weight-of-scientific evidence seems to have been overshadowed by perceptions, largely driven by socio-democratic considerations that require participation in technological uptake.

Volume 19 • Issue 06 • 2020