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Television Workshop “You, Me and HIV/AIDS” Concluded

21-09-2004 (Paris)
The Southern Africa sub-regional television and networking workshop “You, Me and HIV/AIDS” ended on Sunday in Johannesburg, South Africa following a week-long exercise in television pre- and post-production techniques. The objective of the workshop was to engage young producers with a new vision in television production and promote a culture of understanding, tolerance, and respect especially for people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.
The workshop proved to be a unique and remarkable experience both for the participating young producers, aged 21-29, as well as for the technical and social trainers. The focus on HIV/AIDS was important especially because many of the producers had not yet encountered a level of exposure that could fully bring them to grips with the reality of the pandemic. Sinzanani Village, which hosts an HIV/AIDS hospice and a care center for orphans among other things, was the perfect location to bring the producers to this realization.

“I used to make many programmes about HIV/AIDS and they were always negative. Now, I will make positive programmes about HIV/AIDS. The workshop has helped me to see a positive side,” said Judith from Malawi after intensive briefings about and visits to several of the programmes on the Sinzanani site.

The experience was naturally bonding and the team work was encouraging. Four of the participants, who volunteered to steer local producer’s networks in their individual countries, were selected to coordinate and further develop a sub-regional network strategy. This is expected to lead to a new trend in HIV/AIDS television reporting, which could be key to a response by the individual broadcasters.

A state of perfection in television reporting is far from the horizon for Southern Africa but the commitment of the young producers is promising and demonstrates that this is only just a beginning. “Most of the producers need more training in television production,” said trainer Faith Isiakpere. “Even though the workshop has produced 4 stories the producers will need to be engaged continuously to improve their skills.” The initiative for self-improvement is in the hands of the young producers themselves and to rapidly advance their professional skills will require some peer and mentor support within the workplace.

“Reaching our objective is not going to be easy but it is extremely promising,” said Firdoze Bulbulia, trainer and organizer. “The young producers are able to appreciate sensitivity and handle difficult situations with care. Their ability to analyze their own reactions and to prepare for the events of the following day has been impressive.”

As an additional follow up activity, the Children and Broadcasting Foundation for Africa (CBFA) has invited Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe to develop production ideas to be scripted at the forth-coming CBFA-Sithengi international think-tank where the four productions resulting from this workshop will be viewed. UNESCO will remain involved in the follow up and expansion of the networking process.
Related themes/countries

      · Training of Media Professionals: News Archives 2004
      · South Africa: News Archives 2004
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