Getting the Story and Telling it Right: UNESCO publishes handbook on HIV and AIDS
UNESCO and the Asia Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) have published a handbook that presents factual, analytical and practical information about television programmes on HIV and AIDS.
The handbook is a reference and toolkit designed in three parts to support information and training needs by television producers and trainers. It draws examples from diverse productions including those of UNESCO's Network of Young Television Producers on HIV and AIDS.
"Today, the need for scientists to engage more fully with the public is of primordial importance," Professor Luc Montagnier cites in the handbook, ". . . ensuring creative and credible reporting is an important challenge media reporters have to face with the support of scientists, policy makers and society at large." The 2008 Nobel Prize winner in Medicine has commented positively on the section that scientifically describes and illustrates HIV.
AIBD was supported by UNESCO to prepare the handbook which was tested for usability at several workshops. "We cannot ignore the scope and impact of HIV and AIDS," said Director Javad Mottaghi. "Broadcasters can help to increase knowledge by ensuring that their staff is up-to-date and informed about all aspects of HIV. They can even save lives by engaging the public in discussion and dialogue about many of the controversial features of this challenging problem we face in current times," he added. AIBD's commitment to HIV prevention has been consistent. It is one of few broadcast training institutions that have a designated, full-time staff member working specifically on sensitizing broadcasters and training of TV producers on HIV-related issues.
UNESCO's Office in Nairobi hosted a workshop for television producers using the handbook's training methodology. "I found the handbook very useful and was able to use the examples during the training," said Dommie Yambo-Odotte, Executive Director/Producer of Development through Media (DTM), a Nairobi-based non-governmental organization.
"Increased access to scientific facts and information will reinforce the ability of media professionals to participate in HIV prevention efforts," underlines Wijayananda Jayaweera, UNESCO's Director of Communication Development Division.
The publication and accompanying DVD was produced within the framework of UNESCO's Network of Young Television Producers on HIV and AIDS. Since 2002, more than 200 TV producers worldwide participated in the Network's training and produced 100 items for free transmission in 74 countries.