New Delhi: In order to make reporting on HIV/AIDS more factual and less panic creating, Press Council of India has issued guidelines for journalists covering the disease which include provisions like using "non-stigmatising" terminology and avoiding hidden cameras.
The guidelines were formulated so that the media informs and educates people and not alarms or scares them, the PCI said.
It said that the reporting should be objective, factual and sensitive.
"The reports should keep abreast with changing realities of the fast evolving infection and should use appropriate terminology that is non-stigmatising." The headlines, the guidelines said should be accurate and balanced.
"The stories should seek to debunk myths about miracle cures and unscientific claims of protection from infection and highlight positive stories without underplaying seriousness of the issue," it said.
It should uphold the confidentiality of infected people, their families and associates.
Photographs accompanying the stories should not breach their confidentiality.
They should avoid alarmist reports and images of the sick and dying that convey a sense of gloom, helplessness and isolation and avoid references to caste, gender or sexual orientation.
The guidelines also asked reporters not to reinforce stereotypes about sexual minorities including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans genders and not portray infected persons as victims, culprits or objects of pity.
"Don`t use hidden cameras, don`t identify children infected and affected by HIV and AIDS by name or through a photograph even with consent," it said.
The guidelines were formulated after the Thiruvanathapuram Juvenile Court asked the PCI to come out with directions to the media expressing dissatisfaction with the reporting on the case of two children Bensy and Benson in Kerala.