TWO United Nations organisations have recognised the work of The National newspaper in its “excellent” coverage of HIV and gender-based violence issues in Papua New Guinea.
Acting editor-in-chief Christine Pakakota received the Editorial Leadership Award during the joint United Nations Women and United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) awards on Friday night.
The criteria used by the judges for the award included:
- Media reports specifically addressing and raising awareness on the issues of vulnerable people or groups (eg women and girls, children, people living with HIV, sex workers, people of diverse sexuality, the mentally affected) which can influence policy and decision-making around service provision and justice.
Service provision refers to any services which vulnerable groups try to access but because they are discriminated, they cannot
access it, for example medical services;
- media reports going beyond reporting of events and are clearly balanced to highlight ignorance, discrimination, insensitivity and injustice to raise awareness
which can lead to positive behavioural change and influence decision-making at all levels
around the issues of gender-based violence and HIV/AIDS; and,
- Media reports containing clear use of appropriate and sensitive language and/or visuals that are non-judgmental and do not put survivors at greater risk.
Pakakota said it was an honour to receive the award on behalf of the dynamic team she worked with.
“This award belongs to The National newspaper – the reporters, photographers, support staff and editors,” she said.
She commended the reporters who were committed to their jobs “and their perseverance to write amid the many challenges they face”.
“HIV and GBV is a complex issue and there is no measure one can use to say this is how much we have done,” she said.
“The National has been reporting about HIV and GBV issues in the country since its inception some 20 years ago and we will continue to do so.
“Changes will only come about if the issues are put in the spotlight over and over again and is the responsibility of all media.
“The media is the lens through which the general public views GBV and HIV.
“Journalist and the stories they write greatly influence the way people think and act.
“Therefore, the newspaper through our reporters have a role to play in changing attitudes about this complex social issues.
“The newspaper has to promote responsible and accurate reporting and to assist our reporters to report on GBV and HIV in a proactive and respective manner to advocate change.”
The event coincided with the 20-day activism in PNG to mark World AIDS Day.
Elizabeth Gandi, the UNAIDS coordinator, said the media played a vital role in reporting on social issues and it was encouraging to see reports on this issue.
The theme for the 2017 Media Awards on Excellence in Reporting on GBV and HIV/and or AIDS was “Hear my voice! My story!”
Others who received awards included Roline Likas of the National Broadcasting Corporation for excellence in reporting on GBV, Ogia Miamel (former reporter at The National) for excellence in reporting on HIV and AIDS, Michaeline Bussy of EMTV for excellence in communication award, and Imelda Wavik of TVWAN for the photojournalism award.