WHAT IS THE NETWORK OF JOURNALISTS FOR THE PROMOTION OF THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN AFRICA- GHANA CHAPTER?
The Network of Journalist for the Promotion of the Rights of Persons with Disability in Africa was formed by the African Decade Secretariat of Persons with disabilities in the Senegalese capital Dakar on the 24th of April 2008 by journalists attending a training workshop on the "new UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the New Terminology Guide. Attended by journalists from Liberia, the Gambia, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, La Cote D’ Ivore, Ghana, Senegal, Togo and Burundi.
Locally it was launched on the 23rd June 2008 by the Deputy Minister of Manpower, Youth and Employment, Hon Frema Opare, tasked to work closely with the Ghana Federation with the Disabled and other organizations of persons with disabilities (OPWDs) in Ghana and Africa to active their aims and objectives.
Aims and objectives
We have the believe that;
As professional communicators, we are in a unique position to shape the public image of persons with disabilities. Media initiatives and individual journalists can help PWDs feel less isolated, while at the same time challenge negative stereotype in communities.
"For one thing, we can help some 2.3million persons with disabilities in Ghana that are often discriminated against and excluded from school, work opportunities and health services, to become more visible in society’
As long as these large groups of people (PWDs) are invisible, the inequalities experienced by them will remain largely unknown to the general public if don’t act swiftly as journalists.
Persons with disabilities should be interviewed on topical issues in our daily news reporting, and be allowed to have their own voice.
Our success so far
• We met with the all the presidential candidate contestants of the 2008 general election.
• We lobbied the political parties to include disability issues in their manifestoes.
• Two of the political parties were able to print their manifesto in Braille. (the CPP, and the NDC the current ruling party in power)
• We facilitated for the Disability movement in Ghana to pay a courtesy call on the current president less than one month in power. (1st in the history of Ghana)
• We developed Agenda 715 with VSO, and the GFD to collect signature from children with Disability to the president and parliament of Ghana.
• We are working closely with the Ghana Federation of the Disabled (GFD) and National Council of Persons with Disabilities.
• Develop the concept of the 1st African Trade Fair/ Concert for persons with Disabilities which ended 3rd December 2009 as part of the United Nation’s International Day of the Disabled. This concept has been adopted by the African Decade Secretariat of Persons with Disabilities.
• We publish help Ghana Association of the Blind to publish its newsletters.
• Did research for the GFD of the disbursement of District Assembly’s 2% Common Funds in three regions.
• Participated in the major disability conferences, workshop and training throughout the country.
• We have 52 member in Accra alone, (both from TV, Radio and newspaper)
• Kumasi 32 members, due to logistical constrain we are not able to reach out to journalists in other regions.
• We created our official email address and a blogsite for collective information sharing and easy communication.
1. VSO organised a training workshop for our members in Accra on the terminology guide and the UN convention on the Rights of PWDs. And awarded certificate of participation to us.
2. Ghana Federation of the Disabled (GFD) is involving us in all of their major activities and has given us the needed recognitions.
Our Future plans
1. To organize “Training and mobilize journalists in all the regional capitals and other major towns in Ghana” for PWDs to have journalists in their region and districts who actually understand their needs and to work with AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE NETWORK.
2. To seek for funds to have a “Permanent office accommodation” to run in line with our constitution.
3. To Develop a simple version of the “Terminology Guide” on disability to all media houses