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International News
Journalists Living With HIV/AIDS in East Africa Establish Network to Promote Media Coverage

January 27, 2009

Journalists living with HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda have established a network -- called Journalists Living with HIV/AIDS -- in an effort to increase media coverage of and engagement with HIV/AIDS issues, the New Vision/ reports. The network also hopes to work on regional HIV/AIDS initiatives to promote a fully engaged media. During a week-long workshop, journalists living with the disease shared their experiences and made a commitment to "put journalistic living with HIV/AIDS at the center of the fight" to curb the spread of the disease, the New Vision/ reports. They also made sensitivity toward issues such as HIV prevention, support and treatment a priority of the network, and pledged to encourage the media to produce more coverage of the disease. The meeting included testimonies from journalists, one of whom said that most HIV/AIDS messages in the media do not promote testing or awareness.

During the workshop, Paul Banoba -- program director for Panos Eastern Africa -- said the network will work to ensure expanded and increased coverage of HIV/AIDS issues. Luther Anukur, executive director of Panos, said success will be achieved when journalists take the lead in advocating for expanded HIV/AIDS coverage. He said, "The network is timely and gives a very strong foundation for advocacy," adding, "Media is the single most powerful tool because it influences attitudes, behavior, opinion and decision. Positive journalists should be involved in planning and implementation of programs if we are to win the battle." Panos also is working to support the network, the New Vision/ reports (Basudde, New Vision/, 1/25).

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