Centre trains, tasks journalists on disability-inclusive justice issues

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By Kemi Akintokun

The Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) says there is need for  journalists  to improve their reporting and coverage of disability-inclusive justice issues.

According to it, equitable access to the justice system and a comprehensive review of legal processes to better serve persons with disabilities (PWD) is imperative.

Mr David Anyaele, Founder of CCD and the Special Adviser to the Abia State Governor on Disability Issues, spoke on Tuesday at a capacity building workshop for media practitioners with the theme, “Effective Reportage on Disability Inclusive Justice System”.

The training was organised with the support of VOICE.

The workshop is part of the implementation of the group’s project titled “Enhancing access to justice, democratic governance and promoting political participation among women, elderly and youths with disabilities in Nigeria “.

In his presentation on the topic: ‘Understanding Disability Rights and Advocacy’’, Anyaele said journalists need to understand the issues that affect PWDs  to enable sensitive and appropriate reportage of disability-issues.

Anyaele said that journalists need the right knowledge, using the right terminologies to produce quality reports about disability issues and rights.

He urged journalists to use their reports to advocate the rights of PWDs.

Ms Christiana Njoku, the Project Officer of CCD, also highlighted the need to build media capacity on how to report PWD issues using the correct terminology.

“When issues of PWDs regarding accessing justice is reported rightly, PWDs will be confident enough to come out to speak.

“So, the media should portray PWDs issues correctly such that media practitioners can make their reportage inclusive for PWDs.

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“Media partitioned should be able to portray, and use the right technologies when it comes to portraying issues of PWD and when issues of PWD are portrayed,it should not be something that comes out once in a while,’’ Njoku said

She also urged the media to make stories of PWDs more visible in the media space especially issues facing PWDs in the area of justice.

While delivering her presentation on the topic: ‘Media Ethics and Responsibility in Disability-Inclusive Justice Reporting’, Ms Blessing Oladunjoye, Publisher of BONews Service, highlighted the need to mainstream disability-rights issues into topical issues in the newsrooms.

“It is important to spotlight issues regarding persons with disabilities, and also note that disability can be mainstreamed into topical issues.”

“If there is limited knowledge of disability issues it will be difficult for journalists to provide quality and indepth reportage of disability issues’’.

Oladunjoye urged journalists to be fair, balanced and accurate in their reports, avoiding stereotypes and biases.

“When reporting on disability-inclusive justice issues, it is important that the right stories get out there, and not sensationalism.

“We know the numerous challenges that exist when PWDs seek to access justice are cumbersome and could be frustrating, and our responsibility as journalists should be to promote accessibility in the process.”

Mrs Florence Austin, Finance/Admin Manager,CCD, asserted that PWDs have the right to access justice and such should be upheld.

“We expect media practitioners present at this training to prioritize issues of disability gap reportage as well as mainstreaming disability in their activities and programs to sensitize the general public.

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“It is our mandate and we are interested in pursuing such an interest.

“CCD will not relent on what we are doing in promoting disability inclusion, the right of persons with disability and we are open to media collaboration, support and partnership.

“We are promoting right base approach and together we will all be able to build an inclusive society that doesn’t discriminate and doesn’t leave anyone behind but promotes inclusion and participation for all,” Austin said.

Miss Angela Okon, a participant, said the training had further enlightened her on current trends within the disabilities space.

According to her, she has learnt some terminologies she can use and those that can be sensitive.

She commended CCd for the initiative in championing issues on disabilities. (NAN)www.nannews.ng

Edited by Vivian Ihechu

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