UN and Government Partners Engage the Commercial Media Sector to Reduce Stigma in China

BEIJING, Aug. 2 /Xinhua-PRNewswire/ -- Some 75 participants from the United Nations, the commercial media sector and the government attended today a roundtable to discuss how possible Public–Private Partnerships can lead to innovative, groundbreaking and sustainable media initiatives to reduce stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS in China.

(Logo: )

The Commercial Media Roundtable on HIV/AIDS was jointly hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), in partnership with the National Population and Family Planning Commission (NPFPC), MTV China and the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center (ADARC).

Presenters, including Chinese stage and film actor and goodwill ambassador in China's campaign against HIV/AIDS Pu Cunxin, continually showed that by using their unique technological and market advantages, the commercial media sector, in partnership with the public sector, can substantively support China's multi-sectoral response by providing potentially millions of Chinese citizens with continuous access to creative HIV/AIDS anti-stigma and awareness messages through multiple advertising and programming platforms.

"Despite progress in recent years, there remains an urgent need to strengthen the general population's knowledge, awareness, and understanding of HIV/AIDS, and commercial media, advertising and arts organizations are in a perfect position to facilitate creative development and sustained distribution of HIV/AIDS anti stigma and awareness messages," said Subinay Nandy, UNDP Country Director in China.

Aiming to shift sector-wide perceptions around HIV/AIDS, the roundtable creatively engaged participants in a dialogue to generate commitment, create innovative images, icons, and messages and identify new and sustainable distribution platforms to effectively educate people against stigma. All these efforts will lead to a more tolerant and accepting attitude towards those most vulnerable to HIV and people living with HIV.

"AIDS does not discriminate –- but people do. This is true in every country, and China is no exception," stated Joel Rehnstrom, UNAIDS Country Coordinator in China. "What makes China different from many countries is that it is only in the last few years that AIDS has become an issue that is discussed publicly, and a successful response to AIDS requires open discussion about AIDS to deal with the stigma and discrimination that surround it."

"Reducing stigma and discrimination relays on the public-sector's leadership, the multi-sector cooperation, and engagement of the whole society, especially the role of the media in dissemination communications and education," noted Ru Xiaomei, Deputy Director of the International Department of the National Population and Family Planning Commission.

Among the corporate entities participating in the Roundtable were Beijing's City Media, EPIN Media, Beijing Perspective Orient Movie and Television Intermediary Co. Ltd, , Claire Public Relations Consultancy Ltd., Bayer, and the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS (GBC).

As a follow-up to this roundtable, GBC and their partners will launch a media partnership programme in late 2007. The primary focus of this partnership will be to deliver HIV/AIDS messages via public service announcements, program contents, information resources, targeted special events, and collaboration with journalists.

Source: United Nations Development Programme China