World Federation of Science Journalists

Second World Conference of Science Journalists




Declaration of the Second World Conference of Science Journalists Budapest, 4 July 1999


We, the participants of the Second World Conference of Science Journalists, comprising 146 people from 29 countries, meeting in Budapest, Hungary from 2-4 July 1999, and drawing upon the recommendations of the First World Conference of Science Journalists held in Tokyo, Japan, in 1992;

Recognizing that Article 19 of the United Nations' 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. This right includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers";

Recognizing that the historic Declaration on the Use of Scientific Knowledge and Science Agenda - Framework for Action of the World Conference on Science, Budapest, 26 June-1 July 1999, place science firmly within its social and international context, and call on scientists everywhere to work on behalf of humanity;

Recognizing the crucial, democratic and international significance of science journalism in linking the world of science and technology with the daily life of the ordinary person;

Recognizing that, in concert with the conclusions of the World Conference on Science, the duties of science journalism must now be seen to be broadened and deepened, beyond the crucial clarification of science and technology to the clarification of their process, politics, ethics, and relations with society;

Recognizing that these duties must be envisioned on an international scale, to match the globalization of science, technology, economies, politics and cultures;

Recognizing that major social changes have taken place in the last decades of the 20th Century which have directly affected many science journalists; and that these changes have both helped and hindered science journalists depending on their national, regional and historical circumstances;

Recognizing that the Internet and the World-Wide Web have contributed significantly to communication among scientists and have now become important tools for science journalism, especially by enhancing international communication;

Present the following eight recommendations. We:

1. Call on all journalists of science, including the natural and social sciences and humanities, and including our colleagues in the closely related field of health and environment reporting, to recognize our increasing responsibilities to the people of the world to report accurately, clearly, fully, independently and with honesty and integrity;

2. Call on all science journalists to report with awareness not only of science and technology themselves, but of their social, and political contexts and of their means of production;

3. Call on all colleagues to recognize the international dimensions and effects of science and technology, to jump the language barriers that divide the world and make increased efforts to report on and from countries and cultures other their own;

4. Call on editors, publishers, broadcasting organizations and other gatekeepers worldwide to recognize not only the wide public interest but also the increasing democratic and social importance inherent in science journalism, and to provide more support, space, programme time, staff and training for journalists working in' and entering this difficult but fascinating field;

5. Call for efforts to develop the information flow on the Internet in languages other than English;

6. Warn that while the Internet and the World-Wide Web enhance communication, the information so provided must - like any source - be constantly monitored for its quality, accuracy, objectivity and integrity;

7. Call on UNESCO and other organizations to support: the establishment of a world federation of science journalists and national and international science journalists' associations; the convening by this world federation of biennial international meetings; and the creation by this world federation of a world community of science journalists through a well-designed, easily accessible, edited and quality-controlled world-wide web site;

Call on UNESCO and other organizations to do all in their power to support the establishment of facilities for the training of science journalists, which should be accessible to all regions and nations; which should fully reflect the new and wider role of science journalism made evident by the World Conference on Science; and which should be placed especially at the service of journalists from countries which can afford little training of their own.
(Note: Copied from the website of the WCSJ2002)