To counter the growing AIDS epidemic in India, BBC World Service Trust- the NGO arm of the BBC World Service, in partnership with Prasar Bharati and the National AIDS Control Organisation have launched a broadcast campaign.
Commenting on the occasion, S Y Quraishi, DG, DD says, "Doordarshan's growing partnership with the BBC is of great importance to us in India. We share the same values of public service broadcasting and there can be no more vital public service work than mounting a campaign like this to head off the threat of AIDS to our country's social and economic development."
For the next ten months, the partnership will broadcast a three-times-a week detective drama- Jasoos Vijay, on regional DD stations, with an omnibus edition on DD National, a weekly youth reality show called Haath Se Haath Milaa, a weekly radio phone-in show - Chat Chowk, aimed at 15 to 35 years old across Uttar Pradesh, followed by the Social advertising spots that will run three times daily on both TV and Radio for the duration of the campaign.
The two-year project is funded by the Department for International Development - the British Government's aid ministry, as a part of their much larger commitment to combating AIDS in India. The BBC project is budgeted at about Rs 26 Crore.
Peter Gill, Executive Producer, BBC World Service Trust-India, says, "For me, the most exciting part of the project has been to see our Doordarshan colleagues turning in quality ideas and quality productions for the social advertising campaign. In-house, we have been able to assemble an extraordinarily talented team of young media professionals from the independent TV sector in Delhi and Mumbai to produce our drama serial and our youth show to the highest standards of creativity and polish."
Meenakshi Datta Ghosh, Project Director, National AIDS Control Organisation, says, "This multi-media collaboration brings to the centre-stage, the public health strategy of prevention of AIDS through protection and safe sex."
The NACO-Prasar Bharati-BBC World Service Trust partnership will raise AIDS awareness in the low prevalence states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Delhi, Haryana and Rajasthan. By promoting behaviour change in these states, the objective is to contain the epidemic before it takes hold.
In return for programming, production funds, training and workshops, Prasar Bharati has contributed producer time, in-house technical facilities and generous airtime to the project. "It's a win-win situation for both broadcasting organisations and, more importantly, for the cause of combating AIDS," asserts, Gill.
This clearly is an initiative that is novel and brings different leading players to contribute to the society.