Media urged to develop interest in HIV reportage
By: Simmons Yussif Kewura, Kumasi
The Ghanaian media have been urged to develop interest in the reportage of HIV, in order to disclose the new trends being developed from the virus.
Constant education by the media would help to enlighten Ghanaians that perceptions about HIV were no longer the case.
The call was made by various resource persons who schooled media practitioners in the Ashanti Region on HIV/AIDS in a three day media training held at in Kumasi.
In his presentation, the vice president of the Ghana Journalists Association, Mr. Affail Monney, noted that journalists had detached themselves from reporting on HIV/AIDS issues, but rather developed a lot of interest in political stories, and called on the media to attach seriousness to HIV and AIDS coverage.
Mr. Monney, who is also an Assistant Director with the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), said, while speaking on the role of the media in the response to HIV, that journalists should begin reporting on HIV issues by adopting the eight thematic areas of the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC), in order to achieve the national aim of managing HIV and AIDS.
These thematic areas include prevention, treatment, care and support, mitigation, community systems strengthening and funding, as well as policy and advocacy, co-ordinating and management, and strategic information.
The GJA vice president observed that editors sometimes avoid publishing stories of their reporters, because such stories lack the necessary facts that make the story a quality one, and for that matter, if journalists want their editors to use their stories on HIV, they must
look for ingredients that make such stories good ones.
He also advised the electronic media to chip in HIV issues on the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) in programmes designed for women.
Mr. Eliasu Mahama, who took the journalists through some new terminologies adopted by the UNAIDS, under the topic “The power of Language” advised media practitioners to be abreast with some new HIV and AIDS terminologies that portray HIV as a virus that does
not guarantee one’s passport to death.
According to Mr. Mahama, language shapes the beliefs of people, and also has the power to influence behaviour towards the response to HIV epidemic. He stressed the need for a review on a regular basis, since terminologies keep evolving.
Mr. Mahama, an official of the GAC, mentioned sex work, commercial sex or commercial sexual service as new terminologies that have come to replace a term like commercial sex workers.
He also suggested that words such as prostitute or prostitution could be replaced with new ones like adults’ sex work, commercial sex, transitional sex or the sale sex service, while for children who were involved terms like commercial sexual exploitation of children could be used.
Mr. Mahama suggested that other strong words like combating, fighting and declaring war on HIV and AIDS could be replaced with “response, measures, managing HIV and AIDS.
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