Post Mortem

Observation on multi-media campaign on HIV & AIDS (NSACS) and role of media

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 10/9/2018 12:51:05 PM IST

 (From previous issue)

Commenting on the recent campaigns on HIV and AIDS through music and sports in Nagaland since the year 2009, the respondents stated that people do not learn about HIV from such campaign programmes, instead it becomes a platform for young girls and boys to freely mingle and spread HIV. 
“Those campaign programmes on HIV and AIDS in the name of music and sports are just entertainment programs for young people. I just don’t understand the message on how a music contest in the name of generating HIV awareness really works. Those songs that they perform are too loud and we don’t even understand what they are singing. In my opinion, such atmosphere creates open spaces for young people to mingle freely and in the process spread the virus also,” commented one of the participants in the Focus Group Discussion.
Commenting on the role of media, the respondents believed that media could change the way people look at HIV infected people and understand their plight and problems. Many respondents felt that media should be sensitive towards the issues of people living with HIV and also educate themselves on the basics of HIV & AIDS media reporting, so that misunderstandings do not arise. 
“Media should highlight the positive message of people living with HIV and quality life for the people living with HIV. If only media spread awareness about HIV, people will go to ART centres for availing treatment and speak out openly about HIV without fear of violence and discrimination”.
Though modern mass media has been successful in reaching the remotest corner of the world, it has however failed to reach the economically poor and the illiterate. Print media can only be accessible to the literate and electronic media is viable only to well connected places and homes where there is electricity. While some participants were of the view that mass media has created awareness on HIV & AIDS in Nagaland, many voiced their concern that mass media has failed in reaching the remotest corner of the state.
“I for one do not agree that mass media has been successful in reaching the unreached in our state. Most of the people in the rural village are illiterate and they do not have access to newspapers or television. Though they can’t read but they can watch the television programs, which they don’t even understand. Language is an important factor, which stands as a barrier for the villagers to understand the message.If they don‟t understand the message, how will they understand and change their behaviours. Its hard. Something has to be designed where the awareness messages are designed keeping the rural people in mind. They design all those communication strategies in Delhi and bring it here and it does not go well with the people. Our culture and ethos are completely different from the mainland people, so communication strategies should be designed keeping the local perspective in mind”.
Though 13.2 percent of the respondents came to know about the basics of HIV & AIDS from Television (Fig 3.1), majority of them (40.7%) said that besides other sources of information, media awareness campaigns on television was more informative and appealing. A section of the respondents (15.4%) said print media such as the Newspapers/Magazines was informative, while 9.6 percent said Radio had HIV informative programmes and 34.3 percent of the respondents mentioned other sources.
Most of the respondents (36.8%) mentioned Nagamese as their preferred language for HIV & AIDS related information in media. While 26.4 percent of the respondents said they preferred the local dialect, 19.6 percent respondents mentioned English followed by Hindi (17.1) as their most preferred language for HIV awareness programmes on Media. Nagamese is the medium of communication between different tribes of Nagaland, besides 16 tribes in Nagaland speak their own dialects and English is the official language of the state.
Though Nagaland has access to cable and satellite television channels and national newspapers, however, it is yet to see the presence of private television channels or FM Radio stations, managed or run locally in the state. The Public Service Broadcasters – Doordarshan Kendra, Kohima and All India Radio, Kohima are the only electronic media, which produce local programmes in the state. The local media in Nagaland consists of four English dailies and a few newspapers in the local dialects, which have tried to create awareness and have been involved with the State agencies in sensitization programmes on HIV & AIDS.
To explore the role of local media; a question was asked regarding the effectiveness of media messages on HIV & AIDS. However, only 10.4% of the respondents said that local media was able to draw their attention to the issues relating HIV & AIDS, 33.6 percent of the respondents disagreed while more than half (56.1 %) of them were undecided. A large number of the respondents who were unsure regarding media projection of HIV & AIDS because the respondents said that they were not able to talk on the subject or were not in a position to identify with the media messages on HIV & AIDS.
The respondents argued that HIV awareness programmes should be more frequently broadcast on television and emphasized the need to develop more programmes and feature writings on the issue. Some of them were of the view that electronic media should telecast HIV awareness programmes on fixed dates and announce the schedule in advance. It was also argued that media should undertake investigative reporting and focus on stories based on real life incidents faced by HIV infected women. The messages need to be designed according to their needs and environment and presented with greater sensitivity.
Since most of the HIV infected women were illiterate and semi-literates; they were unable to fully understand media messages through print and electronic media. Thus, in view of the limitations of the mainstream media, the findings highlighted the need for using alternative media such as community radio and folk media to reach out to the targeted communities in remote, rural areas.
Integrating folk media with Mass media can be an innovative intervention of HIV & AIDS Social and Behavioural Change Communication Strategy. 
Television and Radio can be used as a medium for drama and storytelling techniques in creating HIV & AIDS awareness. Radio is also the cheapest means to reach a vast number of audience and also provide interactive participation by the listeners.“Villagers still love listening to radio. In my village, a large number of the senior citizens still own a radio set. They get all kinds of information from radio. So if the experts design HIV & AIDS awareness programs and broadcast it through radio, I feel its going to be very effective, cited one of the participant”. 
The findings suggested that there was a need for alternative media in Nagaland, whereby media messages on HIV & AIDS could effectively reach the targeted communities. Alternative media, folk media, pamphlets designed using local dialects and community radio can attract maximum participation among unrepresented communities. Alternative media can be used as a successful medium to reach maximum target audience in development programmes. If properly implemented, folk media can achieve its goal in reaching the remotest corner of the state. 
Due to its cost effectiveness and interactive participation, Folk media can receive instant response from its audience and listeners. Taking advantage of the rich folk culture of Nagaland and using it as a medium in Folk media, it can create lasting impact on the rural people. Folk art and culture is a part of the rural people and integrating it with modern mass media would further boost the implementation process of HIV & AIDS prevention. Community participation in designing the content and interpretation would boost the morale and further their interest in creating awareness.On the other hand, community radio for the HIV & AIDS community can also play an important role in reaching the targeted number of people, as rural people still listen to radio programmes. 

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