The Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Information Dissemination Service (SAfAIDS) collaborated with the Southern Africa Editor’s Forum and UNAIDS: The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS to create a Media Resource Desk (MRD), which is an effort to expand access to accurate and relevant HIV/AIDS information for media professionals. Designed for journalists from both print and electronic media who have a mandate to report on HIV/AIDS (as well as other relevant media practitioners such as editors, media institutions and media students), the MRD aims to:
  • improve access to information on HIV/AIDS through the use of fact sheets, newsflashes, resource desk material, and the internet
  • improve HIV/AIDS knowledge among journalists in the southern African region
  • improve coverage of HIV and AIDS in Southern Africa.
Communication Strategies: 

The MRD uses information and communication technologies (ICTs) as a central tool for positioning itself as a focal point for any inquiries on HIV/AIDS information by the media, as well as a gateway for SAfAIDS to channel HIV/AIDS information to the media. The goal is to use technology to build a "one-stop shop" for journalists and other media practitioners seeking to access information on HIV/AIDS prevention, care, treatment and mitigation.

Specifically, the MRD is an effort to provide journalists with fact sheets, weekly newsflashes on the latest HIV/AIDS developments and trends, up-to-date statistics and vocabulary for accurate reporting, a complete database of media practitioners in the region, and a wide collection of materials related to HIV/AIDS and the media. Email-based discussion forums are meant to inspire interaction and follow-up connection. Statistics relating to HIV and AIDS, information on key HIV and AIDS events, and media briefs on topical issues (e.g., related to prevention, care and support and other topical HIV/AIDS-related issues) are available here as well. To access these online materials, visit the MRD website.

The MRD desk staff's services are accessed through walk-in, telephone, fax, and email. Pre-arranged email discussions with experts provide journalists with the opportunity to ask questions and receive instant answers on given topics.

Development Issues: 

HIV/AIDS.

Key Points: 

The aims of the MRD are:

  • to bridge the HIV/AIDS information gap that exists among journalists and other media practitioners.
  • to attend to the information needs of journalists on a full time basis by making appropriately packaged, ready to use information products and resources available.
  • to provide a quick and efficient service to journalists.
Partner Text: 

Southern Africa Editor’s Forum (SAEF), Media Action Plan (MAP), Gender Links (GL), Gender and Media Southern African (GEMSA) Network, Media Monitoring Project, Panos, SAfAIDS, UNAIDS.

Source: 

Soul Beat Africa attended the launch of the HIV, AIDS and Gender Baseline Study in Johannesburg May 3 2006.