Media Vital in Fighting HIV/AIDS, Cambodian Information Minister Says
The media's role in fighting HIV/AIDS is pivotal, Cambodian Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said at a two-day International Federation of Journalists meeting, the Bangkok Post reports. The meeting, which is hosted by Cambodia and is being attended by representatives from African and Asian nations -- including India, Indonesia, Nigeria, the Philippines, Senegal, South Africa, Thailand and Zambia -- is focusing on the media's role in reducing HIV/AIDS stigma and ensuring people have accurate information about how the virus is transmitted. According to Kanharith, the media have helped to reduce stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS by increasing awareness of the disease and providing accurate information about it. "It is our duty as media to share experiences, disseminate information and raise awareness to help reduce infections," Kanharith said (Bangkok Post, 7/26). The IFJ at the meeting on Tuesday released a report that finds media coverage on HIV/AIDS-related issues in affected regions is progressing but still needs significant improvement. The report, titled "A Story A Day: The Media and Reporting HIV/AIDS," examined over a two-week period 356 stories that mentioned HIV/AIDS from print, radio and broadcast media outlets in six countries across Africa and Asia. IFJ researchers said HIV/AIDS stories generally were neutral, balanced and fair, but photos in stories tended to be sensational and words and phrases such as "deadly disease," "HIV holocaust," "scourge" and "deepest wound in society," were used (IFJ release, 7/25).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.