6 September 2007
The Sol Plaatjie Institute (SPI) at Rhodes University and Gender Links (GL) will present awards to three media houses that have shown progressive institutional practice on HIV and AIDS and Gender. The awards will be made at a dinner coinciding with Highway Africa at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa on Sunday 9 September 2007.
The awards are part of the Media Action Plan (MAP) on HIV and AIDS and Gender led by the Southern African Editor’s Forum (SAEF) that aims to ensure that 80% of the 360 media houses in the region have HIV and AIDS and Gender Policies by the end of 2008. GL and the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) lead the policy arm of MAP. The SPI, that adjudicated the awards, is committed to progressive leadership and institutional practice in the media of Southern Africa.
The SPI-MAP HIV and AIDS and Gender media awards seek to honour media houses in Southern Africa that have put in place and implemented policies to improve workplace practices on HIV AIDS and Gender as well as the quality and quantity of coverage on these issues.
Research prior to the policy roll out showed that HIV and AIDS constitutes less than three percent of all coverage in the region; that only four percent of sources are People Living with HIV and AIDS and that the gender dimensions of the pandemic are not well understood or reflected in the media.
The Gender and Media Baseline Study (GMBS, 2003) showed that coverage of gender equality issues constitutes two percent of all coverage; that women comprise only 17 percent of news sources and that women are portrayed in a narrow range of roles, most often as sex workers or victims of violence.
The Glass Ceiling Report II conducted by GL and the South African National Editor’s Forum (SAEF) showed that women remain under-represented in the “hard” beats of the media and in management positions and that on average they earn 20 percent less than men.
The SPI-MAP media awards recognise that HIV and AIDS and gender pose major challenges to the media internally as well as their work. The awards also recognise that the media is a powerful instrument for social change.
Prizes will be awarded to two winning media houses in the two categories of HIV and AIDS and Gender and their runners up. Prizes include in-house training in these two areas. The awards have been made possible through support of the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).