Ethical guidelines for HIV and AIDS reporting: the interest-group factor
Fourie, Lynnette M.
Froneman, Johannes D.
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HIV and Aids is a complex developmental issue. Cognisance should therefore be taken of the socio-cultural, socio-economic and epidemiological factors impacting on the syndrome. To deal with HIV and Aids in such a comprehensive manner, a multi-sectoral approach is required in which government, civil society, the media and NGOs take hands. In this regard criticism about media coverage on HIV and Aids has resulted in constructive suggestions, mainly from interest groups, through which they performed a potentially powerful agenda-setting function. This article extracts a number of guidelines from the suggestions to formulate an ethical framework for HIV and Aids reporting in view of the lack of guidelines in professional ethical codes (e.g. the Code of the Press Council of South Africa) as well as institutional codes (i.e. that of individual media institutions). The proposed interest group guidelines are directed at journalism practice, but also address ethical issues, e.g. that the media consider the rights of people with HIV and Aids, respect their right to confidentiality and portray them in a dignified manner.