Six of the Caribbean regionå‘s top journalists will be honoured when the 2003 United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Caribbean Media Awards on “Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights” is staged at the Hilton Kingston in Jamaica next week.
Set for Friday, November 21, winners will be awarded more than US$6,000 in cash prizes, airline tickets and hotel stays for stories which deal with curbing the spread of HIV/AIDS, curbing early initiation of sexual activity, fostering behavioural change, promoting gender equality, ending sexual exploitation (including sex tourism) or dealing with population, poverty reduction and sustainable development.
Mrs. Hetty Sarjeant, UNFPA Representative for the English- and Dutch-speaking Caribbean, said she was delighted with the strong response for this year’s event and disclosed judges are currently completing their grading of print, radio and TV entries for the competition. The winners in each category will receive a platinum award of US$1200, while the respective runners-up will bank US$800. In addition to the professional recognition, other attractive prizes are at stake.
Chief Judge is international editor, Tony Best, and panel moderator is Ian Williams, chairman of the awards committee of the United Nations Correspondents Association.
The 2003 UNFPA Caribbean Media Awards, staged by UNFPA and Counterpart International, recognises writers, editors, broadcasters and media houses for work published or broadcast between September 30, 2002 and October 14, 2003.
“The quality of information being disseminated by the media in the region is encouraging,” said Sarjeant, who urged the media to continue focusing attention on the urgent sexual and reproductive health issues facing our young people. “Knowledge is power, and our youth become empowered by the efforts of the media to dispel myths and raise awareness about previously sanctioned issues.”
Confronting sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS, is an urgent challenge, especially in the Caribbean sub-region, which has the highest incidence of HIV/AIDS after sub-Saharan Africa. Given the threat of HIV and high teenage fertility rates, more attention needs to be given to reproductive health information and services for adolescents.
UNFPA supports programming in all these areas, and is active in multi-agency, multi-sectoral processes to catalyze sustainable economic and social development within the framework of the United Nations Millennium Develpment Goals.
The 2003 Awards event is supported by Air Jamaica, Almond Beach Resorts in Barbados, Caribbean Star Airlines, Caribbean Sun, Half Moon Montego Bay, Hilton Caribbean, Hilton Kingston and Bay Gardens Hotel and Coco Kréole in St. Lucia.