DO MORE TO COVER PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES, MEDIA URGED

Gamuchirai Bhachi
THE media has been urged to provide more positive coverage of people with disabilities to promote disability inclusive development.

National director of the Federation of Organisations of Disabled People in Zimbabwe (FODPZ), Leonard Marange, feels the media has a significant influence on society’s attitude towards disabled people.

He said they were mainly portrayed in a negative light.

To address this issue, FODPZ held a workshop in partnership with the Christian Blind Mission, Autism Organisation Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe National Association of Mental Health to educate journalists on how to sensitively and accurately cover disability issues.

“We want to continuously promote disability inclusive development and we are happy that our government signed the UNCDP in 2013 and launched the National Disability Policy.

“We look forward to the enactment of the Persons with Disability Bill into law,

“We feel that there is a serious gap in terms of media coverage on people with disabilities and we are trying to capacitate those from media houses to appreciate disability better and use the right terminology.

“We are not happy with the narratives that we sometimes find in the media concerning persons with disabilities and we encourage the media to report more positively on people with disabilities.”

He also complained that people with disabilities were negatively stereotyped as they were often portrayed as objects or lesser beings.

Marange also clarified the difference between disability and impairments and encouraged the media to work with disabled people’s organisations to create a more accurate portrayal of people with disabilities.

“There is a difference between disability and impairments, and people are ignorant of what people with impairments can do.

“Let’s portray people with disabilities in a more positive way,” he said.

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