Malawi's Song

CTV Marks World AIDS Day with First-Ever Made-for-Digital Production, MALAWI’S SONG, Premiering December 1 at CTV.ca

Ben Mulroney and Farley Flex Spotlight the Plight of African Children Living with HIV/AIDS

– Online initiative at Malawi.ctv.ca enables Canadians to get involved in the cause –

Toronto, ON (December 1, 2008) – As World AIDS day is recognized today around the globe, the plight of children with HIV/AIDS in Africa is spotlighted in CTV’s first-ever made-for-digital production, MALAWI’S SONG, the 30-minute special is debuting exclusively online and on demand at CTV.ca beginning today, December 1.

In Malawi, Africa HIV/AIDS has wiped out an entire adult generation. More than half of the country’s population are now children. Robbed of their innocence, Malawi’s children confront starvation, disease, and death alone in their daily struggle. Premiering on demand on World AIDS Day, MALAWI’S SONG follows CANADIAN IDOL host Ben Mulroney and judge Farley Flex as they tour Malawi’s orphanages and hospitals with UNICEF in May of this year. CTV’s first-ever, made-for-digital production documents Mulroney and Flex as they play, laugh and sing with the children and people they met during their time in the villages, health clinics, and community schools in the country. A preview of MALAWI’S SONG was broadcast during CANADIAN IDOL’s Season 6 finale in September.

“This is a global issue, and CTV is proud to shine a spotlight on the plight of Malawi’s children through the global platform of the Internet. Developing original content and experiences for online audiences is a fast growing component of our digital strategy”, said Stephan Argent, Vice President, Digital Media, CTV Inc. “We are proud to be leveraging new production and distribution technologies to tell this important story. MALAWI’S SONG is a showcase for what CTV digital can deliver for online audiences in Canada and around the world.”

“UNICEF Canada is very grateful for the excellent support CTV, and UNICEF Canada Ambassadors Ben Mulroney and Farley Flex, continue to provide to our work,” said Nigel Fisher, President and CEO of UNICEF Canada. “The potential for the media to communicate the stories of the world’s children — and the ways that Canadians can help to make a critical difference in their lives — is enormous. We look forward to collaborating with CTV, and Ben and Farley further to help Canadians see what a positive impact they can make in the lives of children around the world.”

A companion website at Malawi.ctv.ca includes the full documentary, still photography, field notes and blogs from Mulroney as well as links for viewers to get involved in the cause. Both Mulroney and Flex are National Ambassadors for UNICEF Canada.

“Having visited Malawi and seen firsthand the ravages of extreme poverty, HIV/AIDS, and malaria on a country already so poor, it could be easy to be pessimistic about their future,” said Mulroney, host of CANADIAN IDOL and ETALK. “That is not the case. The story of MALAWI’S SONG is one of hope, is one of promise, and is one that I am proud to be a part of.”

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world, and is currently experiencing an AIDS epidemic. There are approximately 70,000 children under 15 years of age who are HIV positive and more than 1.2 million children have lost either one or both of their parents to HIV and AIDS.

MALAWI’S SONG was shot in HD on location by the CTV.ca Digital Production team.

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