The media is a powerful tool when it comes to changing attitudes, ending stigma, discrimination and exposing social problems. However, for persons with disabilities, the media is more of a sword than a tool that can drive social change and justice. It is biased, it is sensationalist, and negative in its language and reference to persons with disabilities.
With the support of WOMANKIND UK, under the project AWESOME, NUWODU held a two-day training for journalists from Teso sub-region particularly the districts of Katakwi and Amuria. This consisted of radio, print and broadcast journalists. The training on disability inclusive reporting was led by a session on disability inclusion to provide journalists with a better understanding of disability, the categories of disability and the need for disability mainstreaming and inclusion in the media.
Journalists made it known that their areas of concern were how to communicate with persons with disabilities, the language used by journalists in reference to persons with disabilities and how to increase disability awareness and coverage in the media since persons with disabilities are fearful of fraternising with journalists after misrepresentation. They also mentioned dealing with the challenge of bias and misconceptions when it comes to reporting issues of disability.
From the trainings, journalists gained a better understanding of why they should report issues of persons with disabilities under the guidance of the social model of disability as opposed to the charity model which disenfranchises persons with disabilities. The training created mindset change for journalists towards gender and disability as some of the journalists promised to actively engage persons with disabilities before capturing stories about them, work hand in hand with organisations of persons with disabilities to ensure proper representation and participation in disability inclusive media trainings.