Training for journalists on the use of ICT to improve reporting on HIV/AIDS

UNESCO has piloted innovative training for journalists on the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to improve reporting on HIV/AIDS.

The focus on the science of AIDS constitutes a new departure in terms of HIV media training. Often, media training in this area centres on reporting the social and medical issues of HIV/AIDS but few journalists in countries hardest hit by AIDS are trained to access and handle the latest information on scientific developments.

The training includes the use of ICTs to gather basic scientific information about HIV/AIDS, to track the most recent research developments using the scientific literature and media “alerts”, to identify and contact scientists engaged in research and others who may be in a position to comment on its significance.

The workshops focus on learning to source and report on the latest scientific developments. It includes practical tuition in basic and advanced internet skills – including searching for relevant and reliable information and resources, and networking with special interest groups – as well as training in journalism skills. The training materials for these workshops is freely available as a module in the Multimedia Training Kit, available on CD Rom from UNESCO and also downloadable directly from here.

The first pilot workshops took place in Kampala (Uganda), Chennai (India) and Bangkok (Thailand). A fourth is now planned for francophone Africa and will take place in Dakar (Senegal). The 5-day workshops aim to provide journalists and other communication professions with:

  • A better understanding of the nature of HIV, including what type of disease it is, how it spreads, and how it can be diagnosed, treated and prevented;
  • Increased awareness of the latest scientific results about HIV/AIDS, and their potential implications for diagnosis, treatment and prevention – including a realistic assessment of the timescales likely to be involved;
  • An enhanced ability to provide counter arguments to those questioning the scientific consensus on the relationship between HIV and AIDS;
  • An awareness of the resources available through the Internet and elsewhere to check out the scientific legitimacy of claims for novel forms of prevention and treatment;
  • An awareness of the importance of both basic research in immunology and other disciplines, and controlled clinical trials (for example of potential vaccines) if HIV/AIDS is to be tackled successfully.
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