BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA
The BBC World Service Trust (BBC WST), an international nongovernmental organization of the BBC and independent charity that promotes development through the innovation use of media, has launched its report about Media and HIV on December 23 in Phnom Penh.
The presentation of the BBC World Service Trust’s research and learning was conducted by the BBC WST’s researchers, aiming to find effective methods and solutions to prevent and reduce the effect of HIV and AIDS in Cambodia.
Charles Hamilton, head of the project, said that the BBC World Service Trust has been working in Cambodia since 2003 on a variety of projects covering the thematic areas of health and governance. He added that in 2003, the BBC World Service Trust embarked upon a three year project focusing on HIV and AIDS and maternal and child health, working in close collaboration with several broadcasters to produce large scale media health campaigns in Cambodia.
Hamilton went on to say that the project comprised a 100 episode TV drama “Taste of Life,” 54 high quality TV and radio spots, four weekly radio phone-in programs and accompanying print materials in Cambodia.
“This report provides a measure of trends over the last year about HIV/AIDS information in the mass media, discussion on HIV/AIDS risks and HIV testing, both respondents’ interest in being tested and their actual use of HIV testing,” he said during his opening remarks at the presentations.
Hamilton said the data demonstrates the effectiveness of mass media in delivering HIV and AIDS information to Cambodian young people in the general population and the strong performance of the BBC World Services Trust media outputs in the past years. The report identifies several different segments of population that can be targeted differently depending on current risks assessment and own interest in being tested for HIV.
Lizz Frost Yocum, Research Manager of BBC WST, said that BBC WST works with people in developing and transitional countries to improve the quality of their lives. She said that the BBC WST’s works seeks to raise awareness among mass media and opinion-forming audiences, affect behavior change, influent policies, and transfer skills and knowledge. In all of its work, BBC WST has a strong commitment to delivering cutting-edge media solutions to develop challenges.
However, relating to BBC WST’s research, Yocum said that mass media continues to be an effective mechanism to disseminate HIV and AIDS information to young people in Cambodia. She added that as in 2008, HIV and AIDS information reached 92 percent of the population via mass media in the past year.
According to the report, the exposure to information on HIV/AIDS in the media is associated with higher levels of discussion about HIV risks and more interest in being tested for HIV. The mass media is a strongly recommended method to communicate about HIV risks and testing. To ensure reaching as many young Cambodians as possible with a variety program outputs that meet their lifestyles, a multi-format, multi-media approach is recommended. The reach of television formats (85 percent) was greater than radio (65 percent) but many have encountered HIV/AIDS information on both television and radio (58 percent). BBC World Service Trust outputs effectively reached virtually all televisions viewers (98 percent) and radio listeners (96 percent). ///