Indian Organization Urges Media To Improve Public Understanding of HIV/AIDS
India's Assam State AIDS Control Society on Wednesday urged the country's media to responsibly report news about HIV/AIDS and contribute to public understanding about the disease, the Assam Tribune reports. The society made its appeal during an HIV/AIDS advocacy workshop involving the editors and executive editors of print and electronic media outlets in the country.
J.S. Rao, director of ASACS, said journalists should follow the Press Council of India's 2008 guidelines on HIV/AIDS reporting and develop a full understanding of the disease before reporting on the subject. Rao added that journalists reporting on HIV/AIDS should "avoid sensationalism" in order to counteract existing myths and misperceptions about the disease. Although many HIV-positive people in India face stigma and discrimination, Rao said the media "can help change the scenario by objective reporting." In addition, journalists could provide information about not-for-profit HIV/AIDS organizations in the country to promote accurate perceptions about their work. H.C. Barman, deputy director of ASACS, added that these efforts would be particularly important in Assam state, which borders regions with a high HIV prevalence (Assam Tribune, 1/28).