ADIC Sri Lanka works with journalists and media students to increase media literacy on alcohol, tobacco and other drugs prevention. Media advocacy is a core strategy of the organization. The purpose is to strengthen journalists and other media personnel to counteract industry promotions through media channels. Furthermore, this initiative motivates media personnel to share effective prevention messages with communities.
Through systematic analysis, ADIC identified there was a need for increasing prevention knowledge specifically in Tamil media. Journalists and media students like to self-study and grow, but resources are hard to access. Therefore, ADIC launched the new virtual prevention education system in February, 2021 to increase knowledge of these groups and motivate them towards effective prevention on media.
The innovative virtual prevention eduction system builds on three key methods
Evaluate knowledge: A module to increase and evaluate knowledge of media persons on alcohol, tobacco and other drugs prevention and policies. This includes four stages. The stages focus on harm; norms, myths and the industry; current statistics; and taxes and other policies. Those who take the module are evaluated and upon successful completion awarded an electronic certificate.
Media person’s attitude: A media person who has the motivation and attitude towards prevention is given the chance to upload their work for national prevention work in the field.
Behavioral change: Once media persons upload any of their independent work on prevention, ADIC will analyze the effectiveness of their work. This will be used for ADIC’s media advocacy on achieving social behavioral change through media.
The work done during the COVID-19 pandemic inspired ADIC to create this new virtual system. It is a cost-effective mechanism to reach a large number of journalists and media students. Those who use the virtual system can gain knowledge on alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs policy issues in a short amount of time.
30 journalists and media students in Tamil media have already used the new system and obtained certificates for the knowledge component by mid February, 2021.