VENTURES AFRICA – The International Women’s Media Foundation has joined forces with eight South African news organizations to improve media coverage of the complex issues surrounding the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the country.
HIV/AIDS has had a devastating impact in South Africa, with more than 500,000 new infections each year, and 1.2 million children orphaned as a result of AIDS. Yet, mainstream media coverage of the epidemic has been characterized by a lack of urgency, failure to examine the reasons behind stigma and denial, and inadequate engagement with people living with the disease. The stories of women, who are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS, often remain untold.
To address this critical gap in coverage, the IWMF created a prestigious HIV/AIDS Investigative Reporting Fellowship in South Africa to transform the way that HIV/AIDS reporting is done.
For a second year, a cohort of 10 accomplished South African-based journalists will complete the IWMF fellowship. 2012 fellows represent a range of South African news organizations, including both national and community media outlets. They include: Zeenat Abdool, South Africa Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) radio Channel Africa; Tanja Bencun, SABC Digital News; Bianca Capazorio, the Weekend Argus; Euline Fillis, SABC FOKUS; Mukelwa Hlatshwayo, eTV; Sibongile Mashaba, the Sowetan; Sipho Masombuka, The Times; Ina Skosana, The New Age; Bibi-Aisha Wadvalla, SciDev; and Nomsa Zwane, Alex FM. Read more about the IWMF’s 2012 fellows here.
Selected fellows will receive advanced training and coaching to produce innovative, high-quality investigative reporting on the complex, underreported issues surrounding HIV/AIDS, reflecting women’s voices and concerns. Each will produce 3-4 investigations for their news organizations as part of the IWMF program.
Launched in 2011, the fellowship is supported by the M*A*C AIDS Fund, and administered by frayintermedia.
2011 fellows produced more than 30 investigative pieces on a spectrum of issues including HIV/AIDS in the military, the spread of the disease through rape in prison populations, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, the stigma HIV-positive teens face, HIV/AIDS among sex workers, the impact of the disease on the agricultural sector, the role of male medical circumcision in HIV/AIDS prevention, and the plight of illegal immigrants in South Africa seeking HIV treatment.
Founded in 1990, the IWMF is the only nonprofit organization working exclusively to strengthen the role of women in the news media worldwide. The IWMF has conducted programs in 25 countries, and its network includes women and men working in the news media in more than 130 countries. For more information, visit www.iwmf.org.