Aleem Ahmed's article on the Barriers to science journalism in Pakistan raises many issues that are also present in other countries.
Although professional societies and associations will not solve the problem alone, I would like to draw Ahmed's attention to the role these organisations can play in upgrading skills and encouraging science practitioners, science administrators, university research institutions on the one hand, and journalists, web writers, editors and publishers on the other, to take a greater interest in science and technology.
I am a science writer and editor, mostly employed by international agencies in the United Nations. I also serve as a council member for the European Association of Science Editors (EASE). Our organisation is open to members all over the world, and indeed we have members in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, North America and South America.
EASE welcomes people from all communication and publishing fields. Members receive an excellent quarterly journal filled with practical advice, and can participate in a dynamic web-based forum. Through workshops and a major international conference held every three years (the next one is in Krakow, Poland, in June 2006), they have an opportunity to widen their network of both personal and professional acquaintances, and improve their communication skills.
There are dozens of similar associations all over the world, and I believe that by providing a forum where people can share experiences and learn from each other, they play a critical role in building awareness of the issues at stake. Organisations such as these offer opportunities for personal, institutional and professional growth. Both science and society should benefit.
More information is available at www.ease.org.uk