Two parallel learning events convened scientists and media practitioners from the Eastern and Western sites of Indonesia on 20 and 22 October, 2015 in Denpasar and Bogor, Indonesia. The Food Biotechnology Communication, Media Relations and Multi-Sectoral Collaboration Training Workshop was aimed to build relationships, interaction and understanding between the scientific community and the media as well as provide media participants with a broader understanding of food safety and biotechnology. The events were spearheaded by the Indonesian Biotechnology Information Centre (IndoBIC) and International Food Information Council (IFIC).
Prof Dr Agus Pakpahan of Indonesia Biosafety Commission and Mrs Daisy Joyce Djohor of Ministry of Environment and Forestry presented the current status of agricultural biotechnology in Indonesia and stressed that the Indonesian Biosafety Commission has granted the environmental safety certificate for 6 biotech products, food safety certificate for 12 biotech products and feed safety certificate for 2 biotech products. Dr Alan Mc. Hughen explained the scientific misconceptions, barriers and opportunities for wider acceptance of agricultural biotechnology. Mr Heryanto Lingga, a senior journalist from IFIC, discussed what Indonesia media needs to know about biotechnology, and Mrs. Nurmalasari shared the information about GE sugarcane developed by PTPN XI.
Scientists and agricultural professionals and media practitioners participated in the event. The events became a venue for the media practitioners in Indonesia to share their experiences on how biotechnology is reported. It also imparted lessons for more accurate and science-based biotech reporting. This back-to-back activity was co-organized with Foreign Agricultural Service USDA, Udayana University and ISAAA.