The president of PROMOAFRICA Mr. Seth Amoah Kwaku Addi have advised African journalists with interest in reporting on issues concerning Persons with disabilities to seek out stories about easing symptoms that come along with a disability instead of only reporting on efforts to decode its cause.
Speaking at the official launching ceremony of the training manual for African journalists on the PROTOCOL TO THE AFRICAN CHARTER ON HUMAN AND PEOPLES’ RIGHTS ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN AFRICA, under the theme “THINK ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT NOT PHYSICAL DEFORMITY”, he admonished journalists not to only simple quotes disability related stories from social service providers, academics and politicians and leave out people with disabilities. Because the mantra in the disability community is "nothing about us, without us.
He said, many policies, including the African Disability Charter, cover a wide range of disabilities. But in practice, people with disabilities are often left out when is time for its implementation.
Mr. Seth Addi further advised journalists to be aware of language that implies negative on persons with disabilities when reporting or writing articles and features, for example "wheelchair bound" or "suffers from.
“The most basic rule is to use people first language. For example, "people with disabilities," not "the disabled”.
Beware of accommodations: When setting up an interview, be sure to ask if there are any accommodations you might need to provide. Do you need to arrange for a translator? Will the space you are meeting in be accessible? You may need to allow extra time for the interview if the person uses a translator or has slow speech.
Communication: If someone uses a translator, talk to them, not the translator. Do not talk about them in the third person. If someone has a speech impediment, never pretend to understand what they said if you don't. It may feel uncomfortable to ask someone to repeat themselves, but your most important responsibility is to hear what the person has to say.
Be aware of tropes and stereotypes: Common tropes include a "heroic person overcoming a disability" or a "violent person with mental illness." When you find yourself telling a story with this narrative, stop and check yourself to see if that is really what it is about. Ask yourself if there is more nuance you can include.
PROMOAFRICA officially launched the Journalists training manual on 23rd January 2018 at 11:00 am in Accra and stream live on our website www.promoafrica.blogsport.com, www.ghananewsonline.com, www.todayghananews.com and other media partners. The official launched was done Honorable Jeff T Kavianu, former Member of parliament Upper Manya constituency and some major stakeholders in the disability sector.
PROMOAFRICA has commence a project on the PROTOCOL TO THE AFRICAN CHARTER ON HUMAN AND PEOPLES’ RIGHTS ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN AFRICA to reach out to policy makers, civil society organizations, opinion leaders, traditions and religious leaders and the media on the importance of Charter.
The Journalists training manual can now be accessed on the organisation’s website for free.