Despite all the millions that have been poured into the Pacific response to HIV/AIDS, your editorial last Friday (Feb 5) “Condoms promote promiscuity” single-handedly flushed a chunk of that away.
It takes our media fight and the national response against the epidemic a huge step backwards.
As a Pacific media and gender advocate, I hope other colleagues will join me in trying to undo the damage your emotive and clearly uninformed outburst has caused.
If there is one good thing it has shown, it has signalled to agencies and those with resources they have to engage with mainstream media, editors included, to sell news and information, not gossip and ignorance.
It is too easy to sprinkle references to bibles, Christians, promiscuity, innocent victims, sufferers, death-sentence, fear-mongering language into coverage on HIV/AIDS.
And yet we keep proving to ourselves and everyone else that workshops are only a small part of what needs to be a more strategic and sustained media response; with strong follow up and regular monitoring.
Let’s be clear. It is unprotected sex that puts people at risk of unplanned pregnancies, STIs and HIV/AIDS.
It is not a death sentence.
In ideal circumstances, a condom offers protection between people who know what they are doing and why they are doing it.
By climbing on the morality bandwagon and shooting off emotive phrases, you stir up fear and add to ignorance – two factors most required for the spread of HIV/AIDS.
I support the right of a free and independent media.
In my book, that freedom involves presenting news/views that ensure our audience gets what they pay for: quality information.
Editorials present opinions, sure, but the credibility rests upon the strength – and strength rests on fact, not fiction.