Throughout the months of May and June 2021, the Internews Health Journalism Network, in collaboration with the Internews Knowledge Center, organized a series of three webinars dedicated to the important and all too often neglected topic of Disability Reporting. HJN Members who attended all three webinars received a certificate of completion.
Led by Jackie Lidubwi, Internews Inclusive Media Project Manager, and facilitated by Patricia Chadwick, Internews Digital Media Coordinator, these three webinars aimed at equipping media professionals with a basic understanding of the many definitions of disability, the vocabulary needed to create a more inclusive society, the role of social media in amplifying bias, and the international frameworks that promote the rights of persons with disabilities.
In each webinar session, HJN members led by Persons with Disabilities presented their work and the challenges they face while attempting to claim their voices and draw attention to their priority issues and individual and collective rights.
In the first webinar, Precious Ncube and Samantha Nyereyemhuka, Disability Advocacy Officers with the King George VI Centre in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, said that the local media tends to portray persons with disabilities in stereotypical ways. “Poor representation is also compounded by the economic situation in the country,” said Ncube, adding that access to information and platforms by persons with disabilities as both disseminators and audience, remains limited.
The second webinar focused on the use of language to show respect to persons with disabilities and promote their rights. HJN member Daris Al-Badaani, Director of the Media Centre for Disabled Persons in Yemen, who is himself a blind reporter, spoke on how the ongoing humanitarian crisis in his country is impacting persons with disabilities. He said that more than 15 percent of the population are persons with disabilities and that, because of the civil war, very few organizations are left in Yemen to support them. Professor John Obwavo Ndavula, from Muranga University of Technology in Kenya, offered a few tips on how to leverage social media to promote the rights of persons with disabilities.
In the third and final webinar, Jackie focused on international legal frameworks, while the Rwandan Organization for Journalists Advocating for Persons with Disabilities (ROJAPED) highlighted how their work contributed to shaping the newly released Rwandan Four-Year Policy Plan that paves the way to empower, support and promote the social inclusion of persons with disabilities. Last, but not least, Paul Mugambi a cricket player and well-known humanitarian worker who is blind, shared his recommendations for journalists reporting on disability.
Access all three webinar recordings:
Disability Reporting Webinar 1
Disability Reporting Webinar 2