Interviewing HIV Positive People23 Οκτωβρίου, 2022
Interviews in journalism are one of the most important and critical activities in the process of gathering information. Both broadcasting and print media rely extensively on interviews to craft a good story that wets the appetite of the reader.
Interviewing people who are HIV positive or those living with AIDS poses an extra challenge to journalist who must adorn a cloak of sensitivity, while being able to break through the silence and taboo in many cultures of openly talking about sex. In Zimbabwe as well as many cultures, it is a taboo to discuss issues of sex and to name them explicitly. Certain words associated with sex such as virus and condoms do not exist in the Zimbabwean local languages. Worse still human private parts in an Africa context can not be freely and easily mentioned without infringing the taboos.
For a journalist to be recognized and to be respected has to be aware of the cultural factors that can compromise people being open with information which is salient for a good interview. Culture is a complex and contested phenomenon that can be defined in a multiplicity of ways. While it can be defined as “ordinary” , that is what people do at a given moment. However, on the other hand it can perceived as a “totality of life learned across time and is transmitted from generation to generation.”
The complexity of culture can be experienced through the way people form and express their sense of identity. As a way of life, it is made up of norms and values which informs thought perceptions and behavior.
In many cultures, because of gender roles women are less eager to speak openly, or honestly, about the “private”, and issues related to sex and sexual behavior. When an interview takes place where both men and women are present, women will fall silent and leave the discussion to the men.
In an African context a good woman does not openly reveal her hurts, pain, sexual abuse, violence and denial of sexual rights. Such silence perpetuates the violation of women and other human rights.
Understanding gender role in journalism tells the whole story why women may tend to be silent or less forth coming during interviews which have to do with sex or HIV/AIDS. As a journalist knowing gender relations, culture and social traits that underpin the society your are informing, help all journalist to become better forearmed and understanding “what is to be said.”
Through interviews as a method of gathering news information and understanding the complexities of important issues, journalist may begin to uncover the stories of everyday efforts by women and men who make small decision to protect themselves but come up against obstacles.
In Zimbabwe, several workshops have been conducted to educate journalist to be guided by media ethics in their day to day business. Among the issues that the media associations have been reminding journalists is that they should tell the truth, respect the individuals, protect the source, report objectively and give their audience the right to respond.