- Confidentiality surrounding news items on HIV/Aids should be maintained at all times. Therefore no names or addresses should be mentioned.
- The use of responsible language that reflects a fair and accurate account of the current situation. Past experience has shown that sensational stories on HIV/Aids distort the situation and only increase stigma and fear among readers, listeners and viewers.
- Terms such as 'victim' and 'sufferer' need to be dropped and replaced by 'people living with HIV/AIDS'. This gives the story a more positive tone.
- It is unhelpful to focus only on the latest figures for HIV/Aids. Often they are inaccurate and misleading. They provide a false sense of security and can promote complacency.
- Concentrate more on people living positively with the virus. Let them tell their story. This puts a human face on the story. This has proved far more effective in educating people.
- It is vital to include more news items on how to prevent infection and to highlight risk behaviour rather than just risk groups.
- Partnerships need to be developed between media representatives, NGOs and local organisations in the South Pacific in regard to HIV/Aids. Joining the email forum, AIDSTOK, is a practical way to discuss issues relevant to HIV/Aids.
- Encourage journalists to attend in-country training courses or workshops on HIV/Aids and other related health issues.
- Where possible, designate a journalist to work full-time on health stories and introduce a health page. Research in the Pacific has shown that when these two conditions exist, there is broader and more consistent reporting on health issues.
- Media organizations need to acknowledge and address the increasing threat posed to young people by HIV/Aids.
- Publish a correction for any story on HIV/Aids that is found to be seriously inaccurate and offensive.
- All media should encourage greater partnership with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and stress the need to include a media component in their workshops, training and National Aids Councils.
Thanks to Zoe Bake-Paterson at PIAF:
Worth a look: Whenua, fenua, enua, vanua - revolutionary anti-colonialism and anti-capitalism in the Pacific.