Journalism in U.S.A

Journalists and Civil Society, An Empowering Relationship.

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Many times I have asked myself why if there are so many people that have similar problems nothing has been done to improve their lives. It seems to me that it might be due to the lack of awareness, information and organizational skills within a society. In addition, looking at Professor Richard’s documentary “Lessons from South Africa” and the parallel made on the coverage by the media over HIV in South Africa and in Miami, I realized how important relationships among journalists and civil society are.

Therefore, if the main expectation is to generate awareness and changes in society, an honest and responsible relationship among journalists and civil society is needed; for what if there is not enough coverage by journalists about critical issues, a large amount of the population will not be informed about it. On the other hand, if civil society does not take the lead and speak out, there will be no news to be covered by journalists. In addition, if there are journalists that are advocating for a cause but there are not enough people to mobilize, there will be less opportunity to create awareness. Therefore, responsible dependency and bilateral relationships are vital for both journalists and civil society.

For instance, as seen in “Lessons from South Africa,” civil society and social organizations such as the Treatment Action Campaign in South Africa, in which 90% of sexually active populations is infected, started to speak out about the lack of cooperation by their government. People in South Africa demanded an increase of awareness on this issue and the need of improving their health care system by giving more help and a better service to those who are HIV positive. In addition, with the help and the coverage of the media a lot of improvements were made to alleviate problems connected with HIV infection. Furthermore,  the coverage by journalists in South Africa, not just in newspapers, but in TV, radio and through documentaries, has given people a sense of security and self-identification because it gives the necessary importance to regular people who suffered from HIV.

On the other hand, in Miami the situation is completely different. As stated by Professor Richard: “the struggle is not taking place on the streets, the war is largely being fought in the academia,” which makes it more difficult for people who do not have access to education. They cannot be informed about the impressive results that show that South Florida has the highest rates of population affected of HIV in United States. As explained on the documentary, budget cuts on health and the lack of coverage by the media have made that a large amount of people in South Florida are not aware of the astonishing statistics; therefore, the need for responsible journalists and civil society to create strong relationships just as those made in South Africa is indeed vital.

As seen, there are many aspects civil society and journalists can learn from each other and the first step is to recognize that there is something that can be done. Sometimes, because we live in United States, we tend to be very ethnocentric and not to recognize other people’s struggles as important as the ones people experience here; however, humanity is one and issues such as HIV infection affect people anywhere in the world. Therefore, it is time to start relating with those who suffer the same difficulties and learn from experiences and tactics that others have done. Consequently, awareness on health and respect for the dignity of every single human would hopefully become the number one priority for people in United States and hopefully all over the world.

Written by vurbi

May 17, 2011 at 16:53

Posted in Uncategorized

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