The media\'s role in fighting the AIDS pandemic has come under scrutiny due to the scale of the pandemic, the breadth of its impact and the accompanying stigma and denial. There have been calls for the mobilisation of the media in general, and journalists in particular, in spreading public health messages. Various studies have criticised the representation of the issue in the media. This paper addresses the question of how journalists should cover the pandemic, interrogating how the profession\'s generally accepted ethics apply in this situation. It considers how the imperatives of truthtelling — including fairness and accuracy, independence and minimising harm — apply in the context of reporting on HIV/AIDS. Finally, the paper presents a set of nine guidelines for journalistic coverage that have been accepted by the Southern African Editors Forum.
Keywords: HIV/AIDS, ethics, guidelines, harm, media, reporting, truthtelling
African Journal of AIDS Research 2005, 4(2): 125–133