Compounding the lack of HIV/AIDS knowledge among youth is the absence of a well-developed youth culture in Thailand. Traditionally, youth have not been encouraged to participate in civil society, and policy makers have not given consideration to the opinions of youth. Without an avenue to address their issues of concern (AIDS being only one example), youth have been kept on the margins of Thai society.The Youth Media Network was developed to address this need and give youth the opportunity and the tools to express themselves. TYAP encourages youth involvement in Thai society through the use of media as a method of bringing youth issues and a youth point of view into the public space.
TYAP believes in the power of media literacy, which is the process of analyzing and questioning what people watch, see, and read. By making media consumption an active and critical process, youth are better able to understand misrepresentation, manipulation, and the role of mass media in constructing views of reality. The Youth Media Network is important because Thai youth have not been taught to be critical of the information they receive from the media.TYAP trains young people on “Youth and the Media.” During their volunteer time, youth learn to analyse the effects of mainstream media on their lives, especially relating to health, gender, and youth development. Youth also learn to write articles, work in photography, do VDO filming and editing, be TV program moderators, and/or work as a radio disk jockeys (DJ). After their training, youth participate in TYAP’s production house and are encouraged to publish articles in local magazines, radio broadcast, and produce the TV program, “The Thin red line,” to reach their peers through positive media. TYAP believes that media is an exciting way for youth to educate their peers about HIV/AIDS prevention, gender and sexuality, sexual and reproductive health, and other youth issues. Since 1999 TYAP has hosted a weekly radio program which has and continues to enable youth to further explore the issues that are relevant to their lives while sharing their experiences and knowledge with the general public.Furthermore since 2005, TYAP also broadcasts a weekly, 50 minutes long television program on Nation Channel Chiang Mai reporting about current youth related activities as well as disclosing problems in the society, portraying the lives of marginalized youth, and reporting on the positive work Peer Educators have done in their communities.
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