By Erin Phelan PINA Nius Online

NADI, Fiji Islands (November 19, 1999 -PINA Nius Online)---Reporting on reproductive health was recognized as three journalists were presented today with regional Reproductive Health and Media Awards by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

They were:

Newspapers/magazines: Nicholas Cornelius, a journalist with Islands Business International, Suva, Fiji Islands, for his cover report on growing Pacific Island populations in the regional magazine Islands Business.

Radio: Ms. Moddie Nanau, senior program officer with the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, Honiara, who won her award for a radio news feature entitled Our Resources.

Television: Ms. Sylvia Low, a producer for the Fiji Government Film and Television Unit, for a series of reports on HIV/AIDS and anemia.

The presentations were made on the final day of the UNFPA/Pacific Community (SPC) media-training seminar on reproductive health and population in Nadi. All winners were presented with a certificate and a check for $F500.

In addition, Dr. Mridula Sainath, a private practitioner in Fiji who has worked extensively with the Fiji Women¹s Rights Movement, was presented with an award for her advocacy work in reproductive health and rights issues. She has spoken freely in media interviews about women’s rights and women’s health.

On receiving the award, Sylvia Low said she was pleased that this area is finally being recognized.

"I have focused on sexually transmitted infections and diseases because it is important that people start realizing this country is sitting on a time bomb - not only for personal health reasons but what they can do to the country as a whole. Fiji is a developing country, and an HIV/AIDS epidemic cannot be sustained," Ms. Low said.

She said that television is a powerful medium and has enabled her to relay these important messages.

"Anyone who has sex, or thinks about having sex, needs to be concerned. This is a people problem, not just something the medical authorities have to deal with."

With her prize money, Ms. Low plans to first take her seven-year-old daughter to lunch. She says this will hopefully appease her nagging due to long hours mum has spent in the editing suite. "She keeps asking me to change jobs," Ms. Low quipped.

Fortunately for the media in Fiji, Ms. Low is committed to her profession.

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