Wednesday, 12 August 2009

ICAAP9: “Journalists can save more lives than doctors”

Journalists can save more lives
than doctors”

Dr. Peter Piot
The Former Executive Director of UNAIDS
=================

Challenges facing by media

• Editors don’t prioritize HIV and AIDS stories, media need to find new angles on coverage to make it newsworthy
• Need for separate media strategies to reach different audiences (policy makers, PLHIV, youth)
* youth are currently underserved by current media outreach
* not enough new media is directed towards AIDS awareness, prevention and reduction of stigma and discrimination
• Not only report program, but also analyze the legal and policy issues
• Information needs to be more widely available in local languages
---------

Challenges faced by media

Standardized terms for discussing the issues that are non-discriminatory, nonambiguous and accessible
• Raising standards of ethics among journalists for covering PLHIV is necessary
• Coverage still tends to be sensational
• Coverage is still concentrated around World AIDS UNAIDS Day
--------

Possible roles for media

• Give a voice to affected communities
• Humanize affected and infected persons – portray consequences of stigma and discrimination, and reduce distance
• Focus on legal issues which are impediments
• Address fears and misconceptions through accurate information
• Discuss taboo topics
• Inspire partnerships
• Keep the AIDS issues alive – AIDS is not going to go away so soon

-------

Achievements by media

Coverage:
HIV kept visible and high in people’s minds
HIV kept on national and International agendas
Partnership:
• Multi-sectoral cooperation between government, media, NGOs, CSOs, and the
private sector for raising awareness,
* regional and sub-regional networks and alliances are empowering and effective

Involvement of PLHIV in media outreach for reducing
stigma
• Humanizing PLHIV through profiles and articles that focus on their personal stories and portrays them as productive and active members of society
* readers respond to stories that tug at the heartstrings
* coverage that gives voice to PLHIV decreases stigma
• Involvement of celebrities helps reduce stigma

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