THE media must cover disability issues and also raise awareness in order to promote inclusion and equality particularly for people living with disabilities, Leonard Cheshire Disability Rights Advocacy project officer Ms Juliet Muzondo has said. Speaking at a media workshop in Harare yesterday, Ms Muzondo said the organisation's thrust was to promote media that is friendly to people with disabilities.
"There is a gap between the disabled and the media which needs to be bridged so that the media can raise awareness for the disabled. We need to have a mandate that creates opportunities for people with disability to interact with the media. Journalists must learn about disability rights and practice quality disability reporting. It is important that the media is aware of the meaning behind the language they use when referring or communicating with the disabled. Some terms of language can be a barrier to full participation in society and also can cause people with disabilities to feel hurt and excluded," said Ms Muzondo. The media should have forums that cover issues on disability," she said.
Participants at the workshop agreed that the media should cast the disabled in positive light and also highlight the challenges they face. Leonard Cheshire Disability Zimbabwe is currently working with 200 youths in Mutare, Bulawayo, Masvingo, Harare, Chitungwiza and Gweru. The advocacy group is presently striving to ensure the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).