IFJ launches five language media guides for reporting HIV and AIDS

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today launched five language versions of its media guide - in English, French, Tamil, Khmer and Tagalog - designed to improve media reporting of HIV/AIDS.

The five versions of the media guide, prepared by the IFJ and its local affiliates in Africa and Asia, address frequently asked questions on the basics about HIV and AIDS; issues specific to media such as questions of media identification of people living with HIV and appropriate terminology; and in depth information on the causes, transmissions, effects and treatment of HIV and AIDS.

“The IFJ is committed to improving media reporting of HIV and AIDS, and we hope these local language versions of the IFJ’s HIV/AIDS media guide will give practical and concrete assistance to local language journalists informing their communities on this vital issue,” said the IFJ president Christopher Warren.

“And improved and accurate reporting of HIV and AIDS – including most vitally, accurate information on transmission and prevention of HIV - means that lives will be saved,” Warren said.

Each media guide is tailored to the country or region for which it has been produced, with local contact lists, and local examples of HIV/AIDS reports. The IFJ has produced an English version of the guide for use in both Africa and Asia. In Africa, the guide has been produced in English and French, and in the Philippines, in English and Tagalog. In Cambodia, the guide has been produced in Khmer, while in India, it has been produced in Tamil, recognising Tamil Nadu’s high HIV prevalence rate in India.

The IFJ’s HIV/AIDS media guides also incorporate local IFJ research on the media’s reporting of HIV/AIDS in six countries across Africa and Asia, which showed that HIV/AIDS reportage in these countries has improved in recent years but that there is still significant work to be done.

Researchers monitored media in Cambodia, India, the Philippines, Zambia, South Africa and Nigeria over two-week monitoring periods surrounding World AIDS Day 2005 and conducted journalist and HIV/AIDS NGO surveys in early 2006.

The research, including media monitoring which examined 356 articles that mentioned HIV/AIDS over the two-week monitoring periods in Africa and Asia, uncovered sensational reportage and terminology such as ‘deadly disease’, ‘HIV holocaust’, ‘scourge’ and ‘deepest wound in society’.

The production of the media guides was part of a two-year project aimed at improving reporting of HIV/AIDS in Africa and Asia, supported by the Swedish trade union movement, the LO-TCO. The project had six target countries in Africa and Asia: Cambodia, India, Nigeria, the Philippines, South Africa and Zambia.

The larger project supported by the LO-TCO involved: research on HIV/AIDS in the target countries; development of a train the trainer program to train journalists in the target countries; adaptation of a training module on HIV/AIDS to the target countries; a cross Africa-Asia regional meeting to share resources and experiences; the training of trainers for local journalists to be skilled up to deliver the module to their peers; and a series of trainings on reporting on HIV/AIDS in each of the target countries.

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific +61 2 9333 0919

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 115 countries

The IFJ HIV/AIDS project is generously supported by LO-TCO

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