NEPAL: Arts and media effective response to HIV/AIDS

Media and arts are among the most important and influential stakeholders in the response to HIV/AIDS - reflected the inauguration of a three-day workshop here today, designed especially by United Nations Development Programme

The Kathmandu Post
Monday, December 22, 2003

KATHMANDU, Dec 21 - Media and arts are among the most important and influential stakeholders in the response to HIV/AIDS - reflected the inauguration of a three-day workshop here today, designed especially by United Nations Development Programme(UNDP).

Speaking at the occasion attended by a large array of artists and writers, Meera Mishra, Deputy Programme Co-ordinator of UNDP regional HIV and development programme, said, "Artists and media have the power to change the way of thinking and to break down stigmas surrounding it." Therefore, she said, they need to reflect and collaborate on creating new images, icons, metaphors and meanings in order to shift the nationwide conversation around the HIV issue.

The workshop, drawn from the success of similar work in India, Malaysia, Ethiopia and the Ukraine, will aim at generating a shared understanding, alignment and commitment among arts and media practitioners, said Mishra.

"Artists and media have always had the undeniable power to inject changes into society," said Mukunda Sharma Poudyal, Secretary at the Ministry for Information and Communication.

"The new programme is very effective and relevant to transform the myths of HIV/AIDS," said Poudyal, who was also of the opinion that popularising the already existing symbols of transformation was vital to bring out desired changes.