People with disabilities Under-reported;Media on the spot

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Courtesy- OHCHR

By Lorna Kigen

 

Journalists   across the Country have been urged to report on the rights of people with disability as a way of ensuring that their needs are met.

 

Following a three day training by Internews in Nairobi Kenya that was attended by journalists across the country especially those reporting for  community based   Stations, it has  been established that  many of  the challenges facing people with disability are under-reported.

 

“There are only a few journalists who are reporting on the plight of people with disability, Journalists have been encouraged to include voices of people living with disability in their stories , this will ensure their voices are heard,”Said Temigunga Mahondo from Internews Tanzania.

 

According to Mahondo The  project coordinator Internews- Tanzania, the program is  meant to enhance the  capacity of  journalists  while  covering the plight of people living  disability ;

 

“Journalists are a big bridge between people living with disability and the society and they do play a crucial role in educating the public. If  a journalist uses words that are correct while referring  to people  with disability , if a journalist focuses on reporting on the rights  of people living with disability, then the whole community is able to change  , we will have  an inclusive society  sensitive to the needs of  people   with  disabilities,”  said Temigunga .

 

Temigunga points out that a  similar  sensitization program Has been going on in a number of countries such as Congo,Tanzania,Liberia and Kenya among others with the aim of making sure that journalists are empowered on reporting  on disability .

 

Temigunga  indicates that great  strides have been realized  especially in Tanzania where some laws have already been changed with regards  to people living with different abilities who are now enjoying an  inclusive education system   where  students  with different  abilities are  prioritized.

 

“They are a priority when it comes to education and opportunities,  in 5 years  they will be out from the group that requires a lot of aid and help  since they will be at a level playing field with the rest”

 

Photo Courtesy

 

Temigunga ,indicated that the society perceives people with disability as a burden  because of the economical aspect that comes with taking care of them , he notes people with disability require empowerment programs  from the government and other Institutions to support  them earn a living and be  self  dependent ,

 

Temigunga  adds  that  if journalists focus  reporting  success stories  from people with disability, then the world will be able to see that they are equally capable  and other people with disability will be motivated to do more and  especially parents who have been hiding their children with disability denying them an opportunity  to further  their education.

 

“People with disabilities are supposed to stop secluding themselves and shying away from opportunities out there, as this behavior would encourage the rest of the world to stigmatize them let them come out  seize opportunities  and make a difference  be it business, politics or  any other field,”Said Temigunga

 

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