07.11.2005 Health

HIV/AIDS workshop for young TV producers opens

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Accra, Nov. 7, GNA - A two-week skills-sharpening workshop on HIV/AIDS opened in Accra on Monday, to provide young television producers the opportunity to acquire new techniques of designing educational programmes.

Mr Martin Loh, Director of the National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI), in an address said the use of films and television as a means of providing information and education was crucial to ensuring behavioural change among societies.

He said television and radio had become very popular tools of communication in sending messages across to audiences, which could achieve the uttermost results if they were well packaged. Participants from the Gambia, South Africa, Namibia, Ghana and Swaziland are attending the regional workshop sponsored by UNESCO and expected to improve on scriptwriting and television production skills on HIV/AIDS among other things.

Mr Loh said there was an urgent need to develop new methods and skills and intensify other programmes of combating the issue of stigmatization of people living with HIV/AIDS, "as this is the only way that we can save many people who die out of fear of societal rejection."

He called on the governments to be firm in the HIV/AIDS educational programmes and come out with pragmatic measures of sending messages as seminars and conferences had failed to address the problem. He cited the use of TV programmes such as animation, which was an important and effective method of getting messages across to the public, especially the youth and urged participants to take advantage of the situation to help eradicate stigmatization of PLWHAs.

Mr Ezekiel Dlamini, Advisor, Communication and Information, UNESCO, said the Global Network of Young Producers in the HIV and AIDS project, with the theme: "You, Me and HIV/AIDS," was to mobilize broadcasters worldwide to set high quality standards for TV productions featuring HIV/AIDS programme.

He said since its initiation in 2003, young TV producers from Asia and Africa had been involved in a series of workshops, with a collection of 10 mini- documentaries that had been distributed to broadcasters in Asia and other participating countries.

"So far 23 countries around the world have participated in this project, of which 11 came from Africa and it is expected that 13 short documentaries and 12 short documentary scripts will be produced before the end of the year," he said.