GFO Issue 30
Press Coverage of the Fund
Bernard RiversArticle Type:
Article Number: 3
ABSTRACT At least 400 articles in the English language press mentioned the Global Fund during the Bangkok conference, including a variety of editorials and opinion pieces.
- At least 400 articles in the English language press mentioned the Global Fund during the International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, including a variety of editorials and opinion pieces. Some focused on the Global Fund’s progress (and, sometimes, lack of progress) in getting cash to implementing organizations. And several editorials and opinion pieces called for increased commitments to the Fund.
- On Sunday, the London Guardian quoted Richard Feachem saying that the fight against AIDS, TB, and malaria face “catastrophic” failure if donor countries stall critically needed pledges to the Global Fund, while New York Newsday complained that “the United States has preferred to snub the Global Fund’s multilateral approach and steer most of its aid to its own list of nations. This deprives the US effort of the collective wisdom from a wealth of sources. And it hurts the credibility of the Global Fund.” A Saturday editorial in Melbourne’s The Age criticized Australia’s inadequate support for the Fund, which amounts to US$17 million over three years, as “a fraction of what is needed to meet Global Fund targets.” And a Sunday editorial in Bangkok’s The Nation said that a key demand of international AIDS activists arriving in Bangkok was “that the Global Fund…receive adequate funding. The pledge from wealthy donor nations to provide US$10 billion annually until 2005 has faltered.” On Thursday, the Bangkok Post pointed out that AIDS could do greater damage than terrorism and weapons of mass destruction combined, and called the Fund “a clear example of how funding from wealthy nations can make a difference among those dying of HIV/AIDS.” News outlets around the world also gave prominent coverage to Nelson Mandela’s call in Bangkok on Thursday for donor nations to “fund the fund now.”
- The Toronto Globe and Mail and the London Guardian pointed out on Monday that the Fund has not yet been able to raise enough money to launch a fifth round of grants. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in an interview on Tuesday with the BBC, called for donors to provide the Fund with at least $3 billion in 2005, including $1 billion from the US and $1 billion from Europe, and several editorials picked up the cry, such as one in the Toronto Star on Tuesday, which declared that “Canada, the United States and other donors must heed Annan’s call to fully fund the $10 billion Global Fund.”
- News outlets around the globe also widely covered US AIDS coordinator Randall Tobias’ dismissive remarks on Wednesday in response to Annan’s $1 billion request: “it’s not going to happen,” Tobias said.
- Some reporters, writing critically of the Fund, incorrectly characterized its financial situation. An opinion piece by Laurie Garrett in today’s New York Times, for example, claimed that the Fund had committed only about $900 million for Round 4, but had received $3.6 billion applications “deemed scientifically sound.” In fact, every Round 4 proposal deemed scientifically sound by the Technical Review Panel was approved for funding, for a two-year total of $968 million, and the total cash value of proposals the TRP reviewed was $2.5 billion.