HIV experts on Friday challenged journalists to become more proactive in reporting and dealing with issues of Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) of the HIV virus.
The experts were speaking at a meet organised by Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Malawi Chapter and Journalist’s Association against Aids (JournAids) at St. John of God in Mzuzu. The meet was aimed at enlightening journalists on the relationship of PMTCT and Human Rights.
“Journalists, with all your travel and skills, you should do more than just concentrate on writing the story, be real stakeholders in this issue and bring out powerful ideas,” said Alex Namakhuwa, Mzuzu City Assembly’s Environmental health Officer and cordniator of the meeting.
“People listen and read a lot from media reports but the media can do more by reporting on critical issues,” said Margaret Msukwa, HIV Advisor for the NGO Development Technical Assistance Services (DETAS).
MISA Malawi Director, Aubrey Chikungwa, highlighted the usefulness of the media in the HIV fight. He said the media has the potential to set the agenda, to report on critical issues and to connect people with services.
Chikungwa, however acknowledged the difficulties that editors and journalists face in reporting HIV issues such as where sources fear stigma and demand anonymity rendering stories powerless.
|Some of Mzuzu-based jornalist captured at an earlier function, with me sitting down!|
The workshop was funded by National Aids Commission (NAC) and was one in a trilogy of similar workshops across the big cities of Malawi where experts are engaged to drill and grill scribes on HIV issues.