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Media Training to Help Reduce Stigma and Discrimination against Most At Risk Populations, Cambodia

@Sophal Chhay

22 October 2013, Phnom Penh – The National AIDS Authority (NAA) and UNESCO organized a training workshop for journalists and media professionals to better engage the media in the fight against discrimination of the Most At Risk Populations (MARPs).

The training workshop received active support and cooperation from KHANA, the largest national NGO providing integrated HIV prevention, care and support services at the community level in Cambodia. It was the first training workshop of its kind conducted by NAA for journalists and media professionals on the issue of stigma and discrimination. The training was organized at Sunway Hotel from 17-18 October 2013.

In his opening remarks, H.E. Dr. Teng Kunthy, NAA Secretary General, emphasized the media‘s key role in reducing HIV/AID transmission in the country. “It’s undeniable that the number of HIV/AIDS prevalence has gone down in the country and this has also contributed to the reduction of newspapers, radio and televisions covering the topic,” he added.

Cambodia has made the most significant progress in reducing HIV prevalence to 0.7% (2013). However, the context of HIV epidemic is changing, and the media must continue to engage the Cambodian public.  In the new context, Cambodia aims to deliver an effective and efficient country response toward  achieving  the “three zeros” goals on HIV/AIDS:  Zero new HIV infections, zero AIDS-related deaths and zero discrimination, by 2020.

More than 20 journalists and media professionals participated from different media organizations—both state-run and private-run media. MARP representatives and technical specialists from different communities and civil society organizations joined the training to discuss and share the AIDS situation in Cambodia, the emerging challenges and possible solutions. All presenters urged media outlets to help reduce stigma and discrimination against MARPs.

Mr. Pen Bona, board member of the Club of Cambodian Journalists and Editor-in-Chief of Radio France International, commented that, “as media plays  a key role in society to inform the public, it is crucial that journalists must have a deep understanding of the topic which they cover.” He noted that clear, unbiased and fact-based reporting is important in influencing public attitudes towards health issues and changing public perceptions.

In his closing remarks, Mr. Nimol Soth, UNESCO National Program Officer, stressed that the training was successful and presented an excellent opportunity for the community representatives to share their life-strories about stigma and discrimianation to the media professionals. The workshop further enhanced the good cooperation of HIV professionals, media and the communities, and mobilized efforts to enhance HIV response.

For more information, please contact: Ms. Jamie Lee, Communication Officer, or Mr. Nimol Soth, National Program Officer for HIV/AIDS, UNESCO Phnom Penh,

Source: UNESCO office in Phnom Penh