Pierre Eldaher | Annan Asks Media's Help in AIDS Education

Pierre El Daher

As chairman and CEO of the Lebanese Boradcasting Corporation International (LBCI), Pierre El Daher continues to bring Arab audiences the best in Television, while also dedicating his efforts to research in the media field, education, health and more. He was also part of the Global Media AIDS Initiative at the UN headquarters in 2004.

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Annan Asks Media's Help in AIDS Education

At a conference of media executives from five continents, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the portrayal of fictional characters with AIDS on popular TV shows can be more effective at educating young people about HIV than the repetition of statistics on news broadcasts.

"You can designate the fight against HIV/AIDS as a corporate priority," Annan told the UN gathering, which included Viacom President Mel Karmazin, MTV President Bill Roedy, Motion Picture Association of America President Jack Valenti, and LBCI chair Pierre El Daher.

"Silence is death. As broadcasters, you can bring the disease out of the shadows and get people talking about it in an open, informed way," Annan said, citing the results of a UNAIDS survey showing that more than half the young people in 40 countries still have misconceptions about how HIV is spread, and in some regions, a large percentage have never heard of the disease.

The executives present committed to developing more AIDS- themed programming and making it available to free to broadcasters.

Further, they promised to increase news coverage of the epidemic and to enlist other broadcasters in the Global Media AIDS Initiative, which is being run jointly with the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

Alexander Dybal, chief executive of Russia's Gazprom-Media, said his radio and TV stations would tackle AIDS in popular programs and public service announcements.

Lebanese Broadcasting Corp. Chair Pierre El-Daher accused the governments that own most Arab media of being afraid to confront AIDS.

BBC Deputy General Director Mark Byford said BBC Africa would launch a new series of programs.

Black Entertainment Television founder and CEO Robert Johnson said his network is working with black entertainers and athletes to produce programming to share with sub-Sahara African media.

Viacom pledged $200 million more to the $380 million it has already spent on AIDS programming and said it would air an AIDS announcement during the Super Bowl on Feb. 1.

Boston Globe (01.16.04) - Friday, January 16, 2004
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