UNAIDS Sponsored HIV Media Guide for Liberian Journalists Launched

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The Anti-AIDS Media Network (AAMIN), in collaboration with the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), the National AIDS Commission (NAC), National AIDS/STIs Control Program (NACP) and the Liberia Coordinating Mechanism (LCM), has launched Liberia’s first HIV Media Guide for Liberian Journalists and media practitioners with support from the Joint United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS).

Making a PowerPoint presentation on the Guide, Mr. Solomon Watkins, AAMIN’s deputy director and program officer said the Guide aimed to serve as a quick reference document for media practitioners to strengthen their capacity for accurate, balanced and credible HIV and AIDS reporting.

The Media Guide, he noted consists of three chapters with focus on: HIV Epidemic, response in Liberia and the Role of the Media in the National HIV Response respectively and Strategies for Effective Media Engagement. 

PUL Secretary General, Mr. Danicius Kaihenneh-Sengbeh officially launched the Guide yesterday April 23, at the Corina Hotel in Monrovia with more than 30 UN System representatives, government, network of people living with HIV and coalition of key affected populations, as well as journalists in the country. The PUL SG called on journalists to utilize the guide in response to HIV and AIDS prevention by exhibiting professionalism.

“Throughout my practice of journalism in Liberia, I haven’t understood that we have an HIV media reporting guide. The Guide is a great effort towards eliminating HIV in Liberia. Make maximum use of this media guide to help reduce stigma and discrimination,” Mr. Sengbeh maintained.

He further called on partners in the sector to increase support for additional printing of the media, engage in sponsoring annual media awards for journalists, and see the media as partners in every area of development.

Earlier Dr. Betru Woldesemayat, UNAIDS’ Country Director, also called on the media to use the guide in strengthening effective reporting on HIV and AIDS.

He described the media as a key partner to HIV and AIDS eradication. “I am happy to be a part of this occasion launching Liberia’s first HIV Media Guide for Liberian journalists and media practitioners. You have a pivotal role. I encourage you to do your job judicially. Keep remaining ethical and professional,” the UNAIDS Country Director admonished.

In her remarks, Madam Juanita Ramirez, NAC commissioner on partnership said the media has been supportive of the work of the commission and partners in the national HIV response. However, she said there is still lot more needed to be done to have Liberia meet its share of the global target of zero HIV infection, deaths and discrimination.

“With this Guide we are hoping you can do more than what you’ve been doing in response to HIV prevention, demand for PMTCT services utilization and support services for people living with HIV and key populations,” Commissioner Ramirez urged.  

Giving the vote of thanks, Mr. Necus Andrews, Executive Director of AAMIN acknowledged the efforts of all partners and stake holders who made significant contributions leading to the development of the HIV and AIDS Guide for journalists.

“We thank all of our partners, most especially, the UNAIDS family under the leadership of Dr. Woldesemayat. We have been receiving support from the UNAIDS, but under Dr. Woldesemayat’s administration we have received significant support ranging from financial aid to technical support,” noted Mr. Andrews.

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