Media frat bonds at first global Aids creative meeting

MUMBAI: A couple of days ago, the first-ever global creative meeting on HIV/Aids was held by the United Nations in New York.

The event was attended by over 100 creative and programming directors from 35 media companies, leading media figures and non-government organisations from around the world.

The participants included Indian director Revathy Menon, whose film Phir Milenge addressed the social problem earlier this year. Actor and long-time activist Richard Gere delivered the keynote address at the meeting. He dwelt on the Heroes Project, a three-year campaign to combat the Aids in India.

Viacom chairman and CEO Sumner M Redstone said, "With two-thirds of the estimated cases preventable through information and education, the power of media is one of the most formidable tools that we have in fighting HIV/Aids. This disease knows no boundaries, no genders, and no ethnicities and so must our response.

"Now, more than ever, our industry must work together to find new and compelling ways to make HIV/Aids relevant to our audiences and to deliver lifesaving information to our viewers. Collectively, we can make a critical difference by helping to save millions of lives."

Case studies that were featured at the meeting included Sesame Workshop's co-produced series with South Africa Broadcasting Corporation, Takalani Sesame. This claims to be the first pre-school TV show to tackle the issue of stigmatisation through an HIV-positive five-year-old girl Muppet named Kami.

MTV Networks International creative director Cristian Jofre presented The R-Evolution of HIV/AIDS Communication. This was an overview of how media campaigns have evolved globally since the 1980's among the film, music, television, sports and advertising industries.

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