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Television training on HIV and AIDS by UNESCO and ERNO

20-09-2007 (Sarajevo)
Television training on HIV and AIDS by UNESCO and ERNO
Fifteen TV producers from South East Europe participated in a script writing and production workshop on HIV and AIDS on 13-16 September, in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
The training, organized by ERNO (Eurovision News Exchange for South East Europe) and UNESCO, brought together television producers and journalists from South-East Europe, namely: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia. The workshop aimed at raising awareness and improving the knowledge of journalists and producers on medical, social and cultural aspects of HIV and AIDS, at defining the role of the media in fighting against stigma and discrimination and reporting the pandemic in an objective and sensitive manner.

The training explored specific features of the region in a preparation for the production of short documentaries about HIV and AIDS. Participants presented reports about the situation in their respective countries and came to the conclusion that despite the low prevalence and incidence rates of HIV infection in South East Europe, common conditions and problems increase vulnerability to HIV and AIDS and can contribute to its spread, eg. poverty and rapid social changes, lack of national policy implementation, low quality of health service, stigma due to sexual and drug use behaviours, migration and mobility, geographical position along trafficking and drugs routes, etc.
Predag Kovacevic from Serbia said: "I learned a lot about the situation of HIV and AIDS in my neighbouring countries and how they are dealing with it".

During the workshop, previously produced video materials on the subject were screened. A discussion was launched on difficulties related to the visual content and use of language and ethics in media reports.
Specific attention was paid to Marijana Podgorelec’s story, from Croatian Television, about two HIV positive girls from Kutina, who are facing social discrimination and experiencing difficulties integrating into primary school after a weekly magazine published their full personal details and photos.
Claudia Stancu from Romania noted that she will pay "more attention now to the use of language when talking about HIV and AIDS, simplifying medical terminology and avoiding words which imply judging of HIV positive persons".

Medical and scientific aspects of HIV and AIDS were explained in depth by an HIV expert focusing on how the virus is transmitted, diagnosed and tested, symptoms, spectrums of illness, medical practice in prevention and treatment of HIV. The presentation initiated a lively discussion. Most of the participant’s questions referred to the modes of transmission, new trends in treatment and clinical trials of vaccine for HIV. The participants were also interested in the duration and stages from primary HIV infection to the development of full-blow AIDS in untreated individuals.
For Sanja Dragicevic, from Serbia, the "presentation and discussion led by the medical expert about medical and scientific aspects of HIV and AIDS was very useful and dispelled any personal doubts". Gabrijela Mehdin, from Croatia appreciated to exchange "not just (our) experiences but also (our) doubts, opinions and fresh ideas". Maria Kotovska, from Macedonia, appreciated the fact that the workshop was interactive and was "very content with the medical expert’s ability to answer all questions".

The participants outlined new ideas and drafted their synopsis in preparation for the production of stories on HIV and AIDS. They plan to emphasize specific problems and examples in their countries and intend to focus on human interest stories and personal experiences rather than statistics. Veton Rugova from Kosovo concluded: "Until now, I didn't have chance to do a story on HIV and AIDS, but after learning many new things, I am prepared to react in a professional way".
The stories will be produced and transmitted via Eurovision satellite channel towards the end of the year.

ERNO is a news exchange network of 12 public broadcasters from the Balkan States and other South-Eastern European countries. It was launched in November 2000 in order to strengthen cooperation, reconciliation and peace in the region.

The Global Network of Young TV Producers on HIV and AIDS is a UNESCO activity supported by the Unified Budget Workplan. The project involves the participation of broadcasting organizations worldwide. It aims to improve the professional competence of young television producers reporting on HIV and AIDS but also mobilizes long-term commitment of regional and sub-regional broadcasting and media training organizations in support of the prevention, treatment, and care of HIV and AIDS.
Television training on HIV and AIDS by UNESCO and ERNO Training Workshop Group

Related themes/countries

      · Albania
      · Bosnia and Herzegovina
      · Bulgaria
      · Croatia
      · Romania
      · The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
      · Serbia
      · Slovenia
      · Freedom of Expression: News Archives 2007
      · Media in Conflict and Post-Conflict Situations: News Archives 2007
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