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HIV and AIDS awareness amongst the indigenous media in Pakistan

Networking & Advocacy > HIV and AIDS awareness amongst the indigenous media in Pakistan


Uks undertook the three-year (July 2004- July 2007) Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) - funded project on “Networking and Advocating for HIV/AIDS Awareness amongst the Indigenous Media in Pakistan”. Through this project Uks sensitized the media on HIV and AIDS; an issue of most pressing concern which has not garnered the attention it warrants. Through various meetings, consultations and discussions held over the last three years in all the target areas that include Islamabad, Peshawar, Kohat, Gilgit, Skurdu and Hunza, it is felt that the project has succeeded in sensitizing the reporters and journalists which in turn has trained, sensitized and provided ideas for more storylines to the editors but the responsibility also lies with the policy makers and the on-desk editors who would concede to printing and spreading awareness against this issue and give it due importance.

The project has highlighted that AIDS is not only a health issue but also an issue of economic, social, and developmental importance to a nation. The masses need to be aware of this issue, understand its impact, prevention and treatment. The PLWHA (People living with HIV and AIDS) have legal and social rights as human beings and need to be given due respect and social standing. HIV and AIDS are fast spreading epidemic that need to be curbed and the only tool is through awareness. Hence media of mass communication need to influence and reach the masses. The media needs to spread the message in a gender sensitive, understandable and socially responsible way. The success factor can be the large number of positive partnerships that Uks formed with local correspondents and media that were considered difficult since the regions are not frequently visited. Also the presence of Uks as trainers was a unique never-before-experienced event for the locals too since it was the very first time they had been trained on the issue of HIV AIDS.

So far approximately 500 media personnel and organizations have been activated, motivated, mobilized and made aware of AIDS in the targeted regions. There were areas where the people in the media were unfamiliar with the term AIDS let alone reporting the issue as a media issue. So Uks provided them with as much information and material as they could. They were finally convinced and welcomed the idea of being trained on this issue when they realized that it was a problem of the masses and needs to be covered.

Six 4-day on-desk training workshops were held for all tiers of media i.e. owners, proprietors, editors, desk personnel, field reporters and photographers, etc. in their respective offices. These workshops were held in Islamabad; Peshawar, Kohat (NWFP); Gilgit, Skardu and Hunza (FANA) attended by approx. 25-30 participants in each workshop. Uks organized and facilitated the workshops. In addition, six 2-day follow up workshops were held in the same locations as the on-desk trainings.

  • Daily Statesman, Peshawar, Oct 1, 2004
  • Aaj TV, Oct 1, 2004
  • PTV Peshawar Centre, 2004
  • FM 101, Peshawar, 2 Oct, 2004
  • Campus Radio Peshawar University, 2004
  • Radio Pakistan World Service, Islamabad, 22 Dec 2004
  • Skardu, Oct 3, 2005
  • Gilgit, Oct, 2005
  • 4 Workshops have been held for Karak, Skardu, Gilgit, Hunza and Peshawar dated May 22, 24 and 27 June 2006 respectively
  • One half-day workshop in Peshawar dated November 13, 2006

A total of 14 training sessions were held.

Six 1-day focus group discussions were held on various aspects of gender sensitive reporting on HIV/AIDS in Islamabad; Peshawar, Kohat (NWFP); Gilgit, Skardu and Hunza (FANA). Civil society organizations, government institutions, national project personnel, electronic and print media officials, etc. were invited to these discussions to formulate policy recommendations for the print and electronic media leadership and the government institutions.

Instead of a full-day discussion, Uks decided to hold shorter Focus Group Discussions (FGD). So far FGDs with the following have been held:

  • Radio journalists and broadcasters at Uks office on 15th May 2004
  • Radio, print and electronic journalists at Islamabad, 30th Sep 2004
  • Students of Psychology Department, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad, 14th Dec 2004
  • Students, Mass Communication, Peshawar University, 13th December 2004
  • Amal Human Development Network, Islamabad; Feb 2005
  • Group of radio broadcasters, Islamabad, 18th March 2005
  • A group of housewives; 28th March 2005
  • Daily Jang office Islamabad in August 2005
  • SACHET an NGO working on HIV/ AIDS, Islamabad 13th May 2005
  • Medical practitioners and dentists at Hunza, 26th May 2006
  • Media from Islamabad and Rawalpindi at Islamabad Press Club, September 6, 2006

A Media-Watch Committee was formed comprising of approximately 15-20 journalists, reporters, readers’ representatives, and other stakeholders to act as a watchdog for monitoring reporting on HIV/AIDS in the print and electronic media. The committee held quarterly meetings in Islamabad.

Media-Watch committee was formed and the first meeting was held in Islamabad on 24th December 2004. Representatives attended it from Daily Statesman - Peshawar, Geo/Jang – Kohat, DAWN, Khabrain, and Arjumand & Associates. Further details:

  • Two meetings were held on June 9 - 24, Dec 2005
  • Two meetings were held on Sep. 12 - 15 2005
  • One meeting held on Feb, 18 2006
  • One meeting held on May, 2006
  • One meeting held on Aug 17, 2006
  • One meeting held on Nov 04 , 2006
  • One meeting held on Feb 22, 2007