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A US$2.4-million project, funded by the US Agency for International Development, has been launched to improve the ability of broadcast media in Kenya and Nigeria to cover HIV/AIDS effectively.

The Local Voices programme, will train journalists, talk- show hosts and radio presenters to report on the epidemic. It will also help provide reporters with the resources needed to cover HIV/AIDS, for example by creating media resource centres with Internet access and print and audio libraries.

"Regular, responsible journalism can be just as important as information campaigns in dispelling myths and providing accurate information about the epidemic," says David Hoffman, president of Internews Network, a non-profit organisation that is running the programme.

National associations of journalists concerned about HIV/AIDS will also be developed and strengthened as part of the programme, and national and regional prizes will be set up to reward effective HIV/AIDS reporting. The programme will also offer equipment grants and travel opportunities to allow journalists to research and investigate stories on HIV/AIDS.

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