November 24, 2004

NEWS: First-Ever Global HIV/AIDS Creative Meeting at the United Nations Brings Together Creative Experts from 35 Media Companies

First-Ever Global HIV/AIDS Creative Meeting at the United Nations Brings Together Creative Experts from 35 Media Companies
Tuesday November 23, 8:57 am ET

Historic Gathering Builds on Efforts of Global Media AIDS Initiative

NEW YORK, Nov. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, more than 100 creative and programming directors from 35 media companies, leading media figures and non-government organizations from around the world are meeting at the United Nations Headquarters to exchange ideas on how to incorporate HIV/AIDS messages into short- and long-form programming. This first-ever global creative meeting on HIV/AIDS builds on the efforts of the Global Media AIDS Initiative, launched in January 2004 by the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, and was organized by Viacom, MTV Networks International, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS), and the United Nations Department of Information (UNDPI). The meeting is also being supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (IATAS).

Dr. Peter Piot, UNAIDS Executive Director, said, "The creative community has the power to shape behaviors of individuals and set positive lifestyle trends for communities. This coming together of the world's best creative minds to focus on AIDS is a significant boost in the response to AIDS. Getting to the hearts and minds of people is key to stopping AIDS."

Sumner M. Redstone, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Viacom, said, "With two-thirds of the estimated cases preventable through information and education, the power of media is one of the most formidable tools that we have in fighting HIV/AIDS. This disease knows no boundaries, no genders, and no ethnicities and so must our response. Now, more than ever, our industry must work together to find new and compelling ways to make HIV/AIDS relevant to our audiences and to deliver lifesaving information to our viewers. Collectively, we can make a critical difference by helping to save millions of lives, and today's meeting is another step in achieving this essential goal."

Bill Roedy, President of MTV Networks International and UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador, said, "With 38 million people infected with HIV/AIDS globally and more than half of all new infections among young people, HIV/AIDS is the defining moral issue of our time. Because of MTV's long history addressing this issue among our youth audience, we are well suited to call together the first-ever creative meeting on HIV/AIDS, fulfilling a promise made at the UN Global Media AIDS Initiative launch. HIV/AIDS remains a top priority at MTV to continue to raise awareness through the Staying Alive campaign and engage others to form their own response to the epidemic."

Drew E. Altman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Kaiser Family Foundation, said, "Media companies usually compete and keep their best creative ideas to themselves. Today, companies from across the globe are sharing experiences and ideas about how best to reach people with critical information on HIV."

Fred M. Cohen, Chairman of IATAS, said, "The International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences is proud to be a sponsor of today's important Global Media AIDS Initiative Creative Meeting at the United Nations. As the largest organization of global broadcasters, we are honored to participate with the Kaiser Family Foundation, Viacom, MTV Networks International, UNAIDS and UNDPI in the Global Media AIDS Initiative. The broadcasters and media organizations of the world play a pivotal role in not only creating but distributing programming which confronts one of the greatest crises of our time -- HIV/AIDS."

About The Global Creative Meeting

The global creative meeting's day-long program includes sessions led by advertising, programming and communications experts addressing a wide range of issues related to the epidemic, including stigma and discrimination, youth outreach, broad-based partnership coalitions, and short- and long-form programming development.

Sumner M. Redstone, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Viacom, will deliver the opening address, during which he will urge participants to find new ways to focus their talent and creativity in harnessing the media to fight HIV/AIDS. Film actor and long-time activist Richard Gere will give the keynote address at the meeting and discuss his involvement with the Heroes Project, a three-year campaign to combat HIV/AIDS in India.

The morning session, moderated by Shashi Tharoor, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, will address participants on challenges and barriers that the media need to confront and overcome in order to make a potent contribution in fighting HIV/AIDS. Thereafter, he will facilitate a discussion on strategies that have resulted in successful media campaigns in fighting HIV/AIDS. The discussion will include participation from LoveLife, South Africa's largest youth campaign, which works with media, schools and youth groups to conduct peer outreach in communities across the country. Indian Director Revathy Menon, whose film Phir Milenge addressed HIV/AIDS earlier this year, will also participate along with representatives from the Russian Media Partnership on HIV/AIDS, a collective of more than 30 media companies that have come together in a new dedicated effort to address HIV/AIDS.

Case studies will feature Sesame Workshop's co-produced series with South Africa Broadcasting Corporation, Takalani Sesame, the first pre-school TV show to tackle the issue of stigmatization through an HIV-positive 5-year-old girl Muppet named Kami. In addition, Black Entertainment Television (BET) and the Kaiser Family Foundation will discuss Rap it Up, the largest HIV information effort specifically targeting African-Americans.

Renowned advertising creative, author, director and producer Hermann Vaske will offer his unique insights about reinventing creative approaches to the epidemic. Award-winning Creative Director for MTV Networks International, Cristian Jofre, will present The R-Evolution of HIV/AIDS Communication, an overview of how media campaigns have evolved globally since the 1980's among the film, music, television, sports and advertising industries.

Afternoon breakout sessions will address developing new long-form special programming as well as integrating HIV themes into existing shows. Peter Gill of the BBC World Service Trust will frame the session with remarks about their partnership with India's Doordarshan. Chris Davidson, Vice President of Current Programming at CBS, and Eunetta Boone, Executive Producer of One on One, will share their experiences as well. Kevin Mackall, Senior Vice President, On-Air Promos, MTV U.S., along with Nigel Cox-Hagan, Senior Vice President, Creative Group & Consumer Marketing at VH1 U.S., will offer insights into creating public service announcements that address a variety of HIV/AIDS issues relevant to youth and adult audiences.

In an effort to encourage broadcasters to develop more HIV/AIDS programming, the Rose d'Or Festival has announced a new social awareness award to be inaugurated in 2005 with a special emphasis on long-form programming focusing on HIV/AIDS in the first year.

Chris Schuepp
Young People's Media Network - Coordinator
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