Health-e reporters get African award for excellence in HIV/AIDS journalism

Health-e reporters get African award for excellence in HIV/AIDS journalism

Khopotso Bodibe and Anso Thom from Health-e News Service were selected from more than 135 Applicants from 29 African Countries as recipients of the first Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Award for Excellence in HIV/AIDS Journalism in Africa for their investigative reporting on HIV/AIDS.

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The award was presented as part of the prestigious 2006 CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards this year taking place in Maputo, Mozambique.

Khopotso Bodibe and Anso Thom earned the award for their investigative reporting on the misuse of vitamin regimens as a cure for AIDS among poor populations in the Cape Town area.   The AIDS patients were falsely counseled that antiretrovirals were poisonous and that the vitamins would fight off their HIV infection.   A print version of the story appeared in the Johannesburg-based Sunday Times.   In addition, a radio version of the investigation was aired on SABC’€™s SAfm morning show, AMLive and on the Vuyo Mbuli Show.

‘€œThe work of Bodibe and Thom are powerful examples of how in-depth, thoughtful reporting can help explain a situation that puts people at risk and even potentially save lives,’€ said Drew Altman, president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation.   ‘€œBy recognizing great journalism we hope to foster additional reporting on HIV/AIDS to help inform people about the many ways the epidemics affects society.’€

CNN International Managing Director, Chris Cramer said; ‘€œI am delighted that the Kaiser Family Foundation has shown such commitment to developing the award for HIV/AIDS journalism.   This is an issue that should be at the forefront of the world’€™s news agenda and its important that we reflect this fact in the Award program.’€

The Award winners and those short-listed were selected by an independent judging panel nominated by CNN International and MultiChoice chaired by Joel Kibazo, Director of Communications and Public Affairs at the Commonwealth Secretariat, and including Dr Doyinsola Abiola, Executive Director, The Daily Times Newspaper Group (Nigeria), Souleymane Diallo, President of West African Editors’€™ Forum, CNN’€™s Africa correspondent Jeff Koinange, Arlindo Lopes, Secretary General designate of SABA – Southern African Broadcasting Association, Jacqui O’€™Sullivan, Head of Corporate Communications and CSI, South African Airways and Anna Umbima journalist and broadcaster.

The CNN Awards were established in 1995 and recognize excellence in a variety of reporting topics. A winner from each of the categories will be selected, and an overall winner will be chosen from the 15 category winners.   The competition is open to African journalists working on the continent for an African-owned media organization who broadcast or published their entry between January and December 2005.   The new HIV/AIDS award is part of the Kaiser Family Foundation’€™s global effort to increase and sustain media coverage of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, to improve the breadth and substantiveness of HIV/AIDS reporting, and to increase access by journalists worldwide to the most current information on HIV/AIDS.

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