Press coverage of HIV/AIDS in the South Pacific: Delaying the Inevitable

February 1, 2001


HIV came relatively late to Papua New Guinea (PNG), the largest of the South Pacific countries. The first case was identified in 1987 and since 1995 the rate of infection has increased alarmingly. Now, PNG is on the verge of a serious HIV/AIDS epidemic. Other countries in the region could follow a similar pattern. Despite warnings from the prime minister and health officials, there is little sign of anxiety or panic on the streets of the capital, Port Moresby. Few people discuss the epidemic and no billboards or posters warn people about the dangers of the disease. The media are equally silent on the issue. Among the many newspapers in the region, most editors remain unconvinced about the impending tragedy.

About the Author

Dr Trevor Cullen (PhD) is Professor of Journalism at Edith Cowan University in Perth, Western Australia. Trevor is recognised as a national and international leader in the field of HIV/health Journalism and Journalism education. He has received several University and national teaching and research awards. These include two Australian Government awards – A National Teaching and Learning Fellowship (NTF) and the Australian Award for University Teaching. (AAUT).

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