'The Three Amigos' HIV/AIDS Prevention Campaign Reaches Goal of One Billion Viewers through Distribution by the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union

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The Three Amigos, a series of twenty (20) world-class animated Public Service Announcements (PSAs) designed to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS in the world, will now be distributed throughout the Asia-Pacific region by the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU). The ABU will distribute the series in multiple languages under its Media Awareness Exchange (MAE) banner to more than 120 broadcasters in 53 countries potentially reaching an audience of over three billion people.

The Three Amigos, a series of twenty (20) world-class animated Public Service Announcements (PSAs) designed to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS in the world, will now be distributed throughout the Asia-Pacific region by the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU).

The ABU will distribute the series in multiple languages under its Media Awareness Exchange (MAE) banner to more than 120 broadcasters in 53 countries potentially reaching an audience of over three billion people. The MAE involves a monthly satellite delivery mechanism of pro-social content to broadcasters across the region. The distribution of the HIV/AIDS specific content under the MAE is supported by the Global Media AIDS Initiative (GMAI).

Ottawa, Canada-based Director and Producer of The Three Amigos, Firdaus Kharas says: "The distribution by the ABU ensures that The Three Amigos HIV/AIDS prevention program will reach and probably exceed its goal of being seen by one billion people. I am very grateful to the ABU for its leadership in stopping the pandemic in the Asia-Pacific region. I salute the Union's remarkable efforts which could save hundreds of thousands of lives."

Speaking for the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union Francyne Harrigan, Manager, Development Projects, says: "We are very pleased to be distributing via our MAE The Three Amigos PSAs to help stop the spread of AIDS. This campaign is commendable in its multi-cultural appeal and its potential to reach nearly all viewers of the Asia-Pacific region in their own languages."

The Three Amigos is a series of purposely varied animated spots that use humour to counter the spread of HIV/AIDS. The series has been adapted into 41 languages, thereby enabling potentially 80% of the world's population to see the series in its own language. Already in use in over 100 countries, the campaign continues to reach across cultural barriers to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.

The Three Amigos has been used intensively in a wide variety of countries, ranging from liberal democracies to conservative theocracies, from countries in southern Africa where AIDS is rampant, to countries on the threshold of a possible AIDS crisis in Asia and Eastern Europe. Broadcasters have donated millions of dollars worth of free air time to broadcast the series, in some cases up to 20 times a day. Thousands of health clinics, hospitals, non-governmental organizations and universities across the world currently use the series. DVDs are distributed free of charge.

The series has received 30 international awards, the Peabody Award among them, and hundreds of articles in many languages have been written on its creation and impact.

Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu is the principal supporter who has written "an impassioned plea to broadcasters" and called the series in an open letter "a powerful communicating tool to encourage people to change their behaviour". Hundreds of testimonials from around the world have been received from every walk of life, from powerful government officials to AIDS educators to ordinary people whose behaviour has been influenced by the series.

About the Three Amigos
A detailed Frequently Asked Questions and further information can be obtained at http://www.thethreeamigos.org. One PSA per language is currently streaming on The Three Amigos website. Further information on Mr. Kharas is available at http://www.kharas.ca

About the ABU
The Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) is a non-profit, non-government, professional association of broadcasting organisations, formed in 1964 to facilitate the development of broadcasting in the Asia-Pacific region and to organise co-operative activities amongst its members. It currently has over 170 members in 53 countries, reaching a potential audience of about 3 billion people.

The ABU provides a forum for promoting the collective interests of television and radio broadcasters, and encourages regional and international co-operation between broadcasters. Further information about the ABU-Media Awareness Exchange can be found at http://www.abu.org.my/mae.

About the Global Media AIDS Initiative
The Global Media AIDS Initiative (GMAI) is an institution promoting an expanded response among broadcasters to the global AIDS pandemic. Conceived and organised by the Kaiser Family Foundation and UNAIDS with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Ford Foundation, the GMAI is founded on the principle that the communication power of mass media -- its programming resources, airtime, and creative talent -- represents a formidable ally in any effort to raise awareness, educate populations, change attitudes, and fight HIV-related stigma. For more information, visit http://www.thegmai.org.

For additional information and interviews please contact:
The Three Amigos: Kita Szpak, KS Communications. Tel: (1) 613-725-3063.

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