Press Release 01/64
FAO CELEBRATES 53RD ANNUAL PRIX ITALIA:
AWARDS DOCUMENTARY ON FIGHT AGAINST AIDS IN SOUTH AFRICA
Bologna, 5 October 2001 -- Recognizing the power of the media to invoke social
change, Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO), awarded the first ever FAO/Prix Italia Special Award
for a documentary on the battle to fight AIDS in South Africa.
Speaking on September 22 during the closing ceremonies of the Prix Italia,
one of the most prestigious media and broadcasting festivals in Europe, Dr.
Diouf told members of the media that their stories reach millions and thus,
"You have a precious role to play."
Dr. Diouf presented the award to the producer and co-director Jacqueline
Fox of the South African Broadcasting Corporation for a documentary entitled
"Together We Can: South Africa's Youth Against AIDS."
The programme was inspired by the death of Nkosi Johnson, a young boy who
became a national symbol of hope in the fight against AIDS. It focuses on
the way schoolchildren, the government, non-governmental organizations and
the rural community, are fighting to contain the spread of HIV and AIDS in
Statistics indicate that 25 of the 36 million people infected with HIV/AIDS
are in Africa. Many of them work in agriculture. Since 1995, seven million
of them have died of the disease. When farmers die, their knowledge dies
The FAO/Prix Italia Special Award was created out of a partnership between
FAO and RAI TV. The award's international jury, who chose the winning documentary
based on the theme of Communication for Life, underscored the importance
of messages to the global community and the way these impact people on a
human, personal level.
The jury expressed the importance of "programmes offering insights and an
ethical dimension, arousing sentiments and behaviour reflecting human solidarity,
appealing to a sense and thirst for justice."
Dr. Diouf noted the challenges of fighting human suffering, as well as hunger
and poverty in developing nations, which is the central mandate of FAO. He
also noted that international aid for agriculture has declined by 40 percent
in recent years, figures that the media has an opportunity to highlight.
"In a world where the sensational sells, the silent, daily drama of 800 million
fellow human beings goes usually unnoticed. Hunger statistics, no matter
how eloquent, are rapidly forgotten. But the lively stories of the media
do reach the hearts and minds of millions of people. It is here where you
have a precious role to play in the global endeavor against hunger and poverty.
He added that, "With your help, we can give a voice to the hungry and tell
the world that solutions are available, that the resources devoted to the
fight against hunger are the best investment that modern society could ever
make for a prosperous, safe and peaceful world."
Carlo Sartori, secretary general of Prix Italia, added that, "If Prix Italia
helps to develop this awareness, it will continue to serve as a useful and
The 53rd Prix Italia, launched in 1948 by RAI TV, is one of the most prestigious
media and broadcasting events in Europe, bringing together radio, television
and web-based media artists, as well as writers, directors, producers and
broadcasters. Over 350 participants from 40 countries descended upon Bologna
to showcase their work, which ranged from documentaries to fiction to performing
For more information, contact Ms Anna Shen, FAO Media Relations, (06) 5705
5149 or firstname.lastname@example.org