HIV AND AIDS - HOMOSEXUALITY & THE MEDIA. MEDIA RELATIONSHIPS. ABOUT BEHIND THE MASK.
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Behind the Mask is a non governmental media organisation that strives to mainstream lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) interests and to change negative attitudes towards homosexuality and same sex traditions in Africa.
We publish a website covering LGBTI news in Africa.
LACK OF COVERAGE OF LGBTI ISSUES/ LACK OF DEPTH COVERAGE
(Apathy-less knowledge of issues, homophobic governments - homophobic newsrooms, lack of available sources to comment, fear of being recognised as being gay)
HIV AND AIDS FEATURES PROMINENTLY ACROSS ALL MEDIA BUT FAILS TO EXPLORE PERTINENT ISSUES
(coverage focuses on political discourse , or on dramatic and sensational headlines)
ie...HIV and aids, a gay syndrome? Thousands die of HIV each year, KZN a leading province in HIV infections.
MISREPRESENTATION OF LGBTI
PEOPLE BY THE MEDIA
(He/ She issue/Terminology/Choice of photographs covered/flamboyance, catfights)
HIV POSITIVE PEOPLE PORTRAYED
AS VICTIMS, SUFFERERS
My years of hell living with the deadly virus,
How HIV destroyed my life
STORIES ARE SENSATIONALIZED AND FEW STORIES ARE CELEBRATORY IN NATURE.
Gay nudists caught with their pants down!
Lesbian pedophile stands trial!
Queens' catfight over a man!
STORIES CONCERNING HIV POSITIVE LGBTI PEOPLE ARE SENSATIONALISED
Stories often focus on how the person was infected instead of positive developments in treatment
MANY STORIES ARE NOT ACCURATE AS JOURNALISTS ARE NOT ACQUAINTED WITH LGBTI TERMINOLOGY
MSM may not necessarily be gay/ WSW are not necessarily lesbian
Derogatory names used because journalists do not know any better
No existing approproate terminology particularly in vernacular
UNINFORMED USE OF LANGUAGE & TERMS
The data is often complex and there’s a risk of misinterpretation
(HIV and Aids a Syndrome not a disease,PTCT appropriate, not MTCT which holds only the mother responsible for the transmission of HIV)
Use of “high risk groups” accentuates stigmatisation of populations such as sex workers, drug users and sexual minorities
LGBTI COVERAGE MAINLY AROUND SEX, OFTEN CREATING AN IMPRESSION THAT THIS IS ALL THAT THE COMMUNITY IS ABOUT.
COVERAGE PROMOTES STEREOTYPES AND DISCRIMINATION, THEREFORE REINFORCING ALIENATION OF HIV AND AIDS INFECTED AND AFFECTED PEOPLE.
PHOTOGRAPHS AND IMAGES FOCUS ON DRAG QUEENS
IMAGES OF DYING PEOPLE ARE USED
GIVE VOICE TO SEXUAL MINORITIES
(by allowing them to write their own stories (correspondents) (Citizen Journalism) even though we edit them, we get a feel of how they want to be represented.)
DERIVE MOST STORY IDEAS FROM GRASSROOTS PEOPLE
(Whose issues the mainstream media may not find newsworthy)
GET THE LANGUAGE AND TERMINOLOGY RIGHT
(LGBTI guidelines from LGBTI organisations in order to correctly represent LGBTI people.)
MAINTAIN OBJECTIVITY, FACTUALITY AND SENSITIVITY
(give both sides of the story, also giving a human face but we ensure sensitivity and confidentiality as we work in very hostile environments in Africa.)
DEBUNK THE MYTHS ON HIV PREVENTION AND CURES:
(woman to woman infection, circumcision, sleeping with a virgin - HIV and AIDS .)
ONGOING RESEARCH AND TRAINING
(on developments in media laws)
(HIV Misdiagnosis/ Intersex picture)
INTERACTING WITH AND HELPING JOURNALISTS REPORT IN A KNOWLEDGEABLE WAY
HIV & AIDS and LGBTI sectors should take a more proactive approach to the media by:
Engaging the media on bad coverage
Writing and producing stories
Creating the media that is sector specific
THATWOULD BUILD THE CAPACITY OF VARIOUS STAKEHOLDERS INVOLVED
BRING TOGETHER REPRESENTATIVES FROM DIFFERENT SECTORS FOR MUTUAL LEARNING
MAKING AVAILABLE, CORRECT INFORMATION THAT COULD BE GIVEN TO EDITORS
MAKE EXPERT OPINIONS AND PEOPLE WILLING TO BE INTERVIEWED READILY AVAILABLEDEVELOPING TOOLS FOR BETTER MEDIA COVERAGE
Developing toolkits, manuals/guides, list and contact details of experts
Create an online portal to help journalists report better on sector news
Create a news service that develops writers and supplies accurate stories to newspapers
Ensuring that media opportunities get to the sector
(calls for scripts, ideas, article submissions, photography competitions)
COMPREHENSIVE MEDIA MONITORING PROJECTS
RESEARCH TO UNCOVER THE GENDER AND RACE DIMENSIONS OF COVERAGE
LITERATURE REVIEWS OF HOW SECTOR NEWS ARE COVERED
THERE HAVE BEEN EFFORTS TO BUILD THE CAPACITY OF THE MEDIA TO COVER ISSUES THAT THEY MAY NOT BE FAMILIAR WITH.
FOR EXAMPLE THERE HAVE BEEN STRATEGIES DEVELOPED TO SENSITISE JOURNALISTS WHO COVER, WOMEN’S & HIV AND AIDS ISSUES
INTERNEWS: Local voices project Launched in 2002 in Nigeria and Kenya to train and support local radio journalists, talk show hosts, and DJs to improve their reporting on HIV and AIDS
In 2005-06 the project expanded to Ethiopia and Cote d’ Ivoire and included support for print journalists
an association formed by journalists concerned by the spread of HIV and AIDS in the country. The association supports efforts of journalists who seek to deepen their journalistic expertise and knowledge on HIV and AIDS and the social, economic and political factors around it.
JOURNALISTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (JHR):A Canadian Charitable organisation dedicated to providing African Media with necessary tools to foster increased awareness of human rights issues in Africa.