Accurate, comprehensive coverage of disability issues and increasing the participation of disabled people in the production of news and information can help alleviate stigma and discrimination, as well as lead to better government policy.
Providing disabled people with trusted information in accessible formats gives them the tools to advocate for increased participation in employment and education; and can highlight issues such as domestic abuse and institutionalization. In building the capacity of individual reporters (including those with disabilities), media outlets and journalism networks to cover the perspectives and voices of persons with disabilities, our goal is to inform the public and policy-makers, promote greater accountability, and ignite conversations that change social norms and attitudes.
- Guidance on disability reporting & terminology
- Guidance on accessible media production
- Organizations for disabled journalists
- Disability & Media in the News
- Examples of reporting on disability issues – from Internews’ Inclusive Media Project
- People to follow
- Disabled People’s Organizations
- Fact Sheets
- Internews projects on media and disability
- Stories, announcements, and resources
Guidance on disability reporting & terminology
- Disability Reporting in the Media 2021 (French & English): Providing African journalists with the necessary skills and knowledge to promote fact-based, objective, and impactful reporting on persons with disabilities.
- Disability Language Style Guide – from the National Center on Disability and Journalism
Style Guide in Spanish | Style Guide in Romanian
- Reporting on Disability: Guidelines for the Media, by the International Labour Organization
- Disability-friendly language: human rights imperative or game of linguistic leapfrog? by Shikuku Obosi, UK
- The Routledge Companion to Disability and Media – International in scope and orientation, a comprehensive survey of the intersections between disability studies and media studies
Guidance on accessible media production
- Beginner’s Guide to Captioning – from 3PlayMedia (need to provide your email)
- A Brief Disability Accessibility Guide by Deaf/Blind lawyer Haben Girma
- MediaDiversity Institute – works internationally to promote media and information literacy, combat disinformation and facilitate responsible coverage of diversity issues in local and international media.
- Accessible Social Media Guide – from Sense Blog
- Alt Text – provides additional information about images
Organizations for disabled journalists
- Blind Professional Journalists List (through the National Federation of the Blind)
- National Center on Disability and Journalism (US – Arizona State University)
- Global Alliance for Disability in Media and Entertainment – GADIM was created to encourage actions to increase and improve representation of persons with disabilities in the media.
Disability & media in the news
- Three disability questions every editor should ask, by Hannah Wise, Reynolds Journalism Institute, December 20, 2021: Accessible editing practices elevate disabled voices, eliminates ableism and makes journalism more accurate
- Death by a Thousand Words: COVID-19 and the Pandemic of Ableist Media, by Imani Barbarin, Refinery 29, August 30, 2021
- Disability Representation in the Media, World Institute on Disability – What’s Up WID podcast, August 13, 2021
- True Newsroom Diversity Must Account for Disability Status, Too, by Sara Luterman, Nieman Reports, February 2021: Disabled people make up 20% of the U.S. population but take up little space on mastheads and in coverage. Why?
- Why intersectional reporting can’t ignore people of color with disabilities, opinion by Sarah Kim, NBCU Academy, June 20, 2021: There isn’t only a “race issue,” “disability issue” or “LGBTQ+ issue.” All types of discrimination are influenced by one another, and journalists need to treat them as such.
- Journalism is ableist, down to its language, by Jen Ramos, The Objective, June 17, 2021: The AP’s new guidance on covering disabilities is a step in the right direction, but doesn’t provide a nuanced, thoughtful understanding of the experiences of disabled people.
- Fighting Ableism Is About Much More Than Attitudes And Awareness, by Andrew Pulrang, Forbes Magazine, June 14, 2021
- An avenue to other worlds: Auditorial, a new idea for accessible storytelling, The Guardian, May 20, 2021: The Guardian has launched an experimental feature format on World Accessibility Awareness Day, in partnership with Google and the Royal National Institute of Blind People
- Victim Tropes Still Common in Coverage of Persons with Disabilities, African Women in Media, 2021: “It’s time to ditch the stereotypes and cover persons with disabilities as equal members of society who are more than their disability,” writes Jackie Lidubwi
- True Newsroom Diversity Must Account for Disability Status, Too, Nieman Reports, February 17, 2021
- Pandemic opened newsrooms to journalists with disabilities, journalism.co.uk, April 8, 2021
In lockdown, working from home became accepted and an access barrier has been (finally) lifted
- How the media can help protect people with albinism. A Tanzanian case study, by Jean Burke, Senior Lecturer in Social Work, Australian Catholic University
Examples of reporting on disability issues
Reporting made possible by support from Internews’ Inclusive Media Project
- Sport pour handicapés visuels : Quand le Cécifoot fait renaître l’espoir, by Parfait Zio, Ivoire Courrier, October 21, 2021
- Côte d’Ivoire : la langue des signes, élément clé d’une réelle inclusion des personnes sourdes, by Guy Martial Kouassi, Ivoire Handicap TV, October 16, 2021
- Cadre juridique des personnes en situation de handicap : la Côte d’Ivoire dispose de beaucoup de textes et lois mais le problème réside dans la mise en oeuvre (expert), Abidjan Net, October 4, 2021
- Ano Hervé ADOU, sportif de haut niveau en Para Haltérophilie (catégorie moins de 65 kg) et Attaché Administratif à la Direction Régionale du Travail d’Abidjan « On peut être handicapé et être un modèle dans la société, être une source d’inspiration », Afrique Economie, October 4, 2021
- Situation des personnes handicapées: L’Ong Espoir Handicap préoccupée, by Mael Espoir, Afrique Sur 7, July 22, 2021
Democratic Republic of Congo
- RDC : « Mille Altitudes » lance la campagne sur l’inclusion de la personne handicapée, by Dan Kalala Kalambay, Ouragan, December 5, 2021: “Mille Altitudes” launches the campaign on the inclusion of disabled people
- DRC: Félix Tshisekedi proclaimed “Handicap Champion” by Irène Esambo, by Jael Moloway, Actu30, December 3, 2021: On International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Head of State Félix Tshiekedi was proclaimed “Disability Champion” by the Minister Delegate for People Living with Disabilities.
- Sous-représentation des femmes et personnes vivant avec handicap dans les institutions : Plaidoyer pour l’harmonisation de la Loi électorale avec les pertinentes dispositions de la Constitution, by Rédaction Géopolis Hebdo, Geopolis Magazine, December 2, 2021: Discussion on the Under-representation of women and people living with disabilities in institutions.
- Camille Tano Kouassi (Parent): « J’ai découvert à travers ma fille que j’ai un handicap » (I discovered through my daughter that I have a disability), by Cesar Ebrokié, Notrevoie, October 4, 2021
- Tshisekedi plaide en faveur des albinos : « Embauchez, recrutez, offrez des stages aux personnes atteintes d’albinisme » (Tshisekedi pleads in favor of albinos: “Hire, recruit, offer internships to people with albinism”), Actu30, October 19, 2021
- RDC : Irène Esambo appelle à la ratification de la Charte africaine des droits de l’homme et des peuples, by Jaël Moloway, Actu30, October 4, 2021
- RDC/Bancarisation de la paie des agents de l’Etat: le calvaire des fonctionnaires en situation de handicap à Kahemba (Kwango), by Liévin Luzolo, Electionnet, August 27, 2021 – Government officials with disabilities have difficulties getting their salaries and often have to live on loans.
- RDC/Autonomisation des personnes en situation de handicap: « Que le gouvernement confie la billetterie aux Handicapés », José de Jésus, by Liévin Luzolo, Electionnet, August 24, 2021
- Amani KAZIBIO (para tækwondo) : « La vie, c’est une question de volonté et de détermination ! » (Interview), by Désiré Rex Owamba, Congo Profond, August 17, 2021 – An interview with Amani Kizibio, who is participating in the Paralympic Games in Tokyo in taekwondo.
- Ramadhan Duvela: Please keep your sympathy, give me acceptance instead, by Dudley Muchiri, Nation, December 15, 2021: Ramadhan Duvela Nyongesa is a professional photographer living with epilepsy.
- Serikali imeanza kutoa Kadi za kisasa za watu wenye ulemavu, Radio Rahma, December 12, 2021: The government is issuing new identity cards for people with disabilities to counteract fraud.
- Kenya’s Persons with Disabilities Decry Stigma, Urge Tapping of Their Talents, by Lenah Bosibori, Talk Africa, December 4, 2021
- Watu wenye ulemavu wakanusha madai kuwa wao ni omba omba mijini, Radio Rahma, December 3, 2021: People with disabilities are not beggars.
- To Highlight PWD Voices: PUL Vows To Introduce Slot For Disability Reporting, by R. Joyclyn Wea, New Republic Liberia, December 5, 2021: The press union of Liberia has made a strong commitment that moving forward, there will be a introduction of a prize for journalist who will report on issues affecting persons.
- Success Story Of A Disabled Liberian Woman Who Has Climbed The Ladder To Prominence, by Leila B. Gbati-PwD Reporting Fellow, Public Trust Media Group, September 28, 2021
- People Living with Disabilities Launch Awareness Outreach in Gbarpolo County, by Henry Gboluma in Gbarpolu County, Local Voices Liberia, October 4, 2021: Several disabled people highlighted the need for skill training, access to loans, public facilities, job opportunities and equal representation as some of the key issues confronting them.
- Visually Impaired Carpenter Wants Inclusion Of PwDs In Gov’t Programs, By Elton Wroinbee Tiah, News Public Trust, September 26, 2021: A blind carpenter wants the government to provide more vocational training for people with disabilities.
- Walking out of Discrimination, a video by Satec TV, July 6, 2021: A Liberian man with a psychiatric disability started an organization 30 years ago to fight stigma and discrimination.
- “Visual Impairment Is Not Inability,” by Joseph Titus Yekeryan, News Public Trust, June 16, 2021: Tenneh Tokpah narrates her story about making a living producing soap and teaching others the skill.
- Beating The Odds And Making A Difference In Discriminative Society, by Abraham Kollie (Internews PwD Reporting Fellow), News Public Trust, June 8, 2021: The Story Of A Young Successful Liberian With Visual Disability.
- Trying To Fulfil Liberia’s Disabilities Law: Over 27 People With Disabilities Gainfully Employed, By R. Joyclyn Wea, News Public Trust, June 8, 2021
- CGFM-serikali kutoa ajira kwa watu wenye ulemavu, by Vivian Pyuza, CGFM-Tabora, December 6, 2021: The government said it will ensure that 3% of people with disabilities are employed in every employment opportunity.
- Wanajamii acheni kuwanyanyapaa watu wenye ulemavu, by Mariam Matundu, Dodoma FM, December 6, 2021: Community members have been asked to stop stigmatizing people with disabilities as they are also part of the community.
- Jamii iwape kipaumbele watu wenye ulemavu usionekana, by Felister Richard, CFM Dodoma, December 5, 2021: Interviews on the importance of community recognition and support for people with invisible disabilities.
- Waandishi wa habari endeleni kuzalisha habari za watu wenye ulemavu, by Ester Macha, Times Majira, December 5, 2021: Journalists are advised to write positive news stories about people with disabilities.
- Wadau wakutana Jijini Dodoma siku ya kimataifa ya watu wenye ulemavu 2021, by Bryson Mshana, Mtwara Press Club, December 4, 2021: Various institutions are advised to include people with disabilities in matters of health, employment, education, etc.
- Mabilioni yamwagwa kwa vikundi vya watu wenye walemavu, by Michael Maduhu from Nipashe Newspaper, IPP Media, December 3, 2021: The government says it will continue to provide affordable loans to groups of people with disabilities to boost their economy.
- Upatikanaji haki kwenye vyombo vya sheria kwa watu wenye ulemavu baada ya kubakwa bado tatizo, by Haji Mohamed, Pembatoday-online Newspaper: Some people with disabilities are denied their legal rights after being subjected to acts of rapes in Zanzibar.
- Wenye tatizo la usikivu waomba wakalimani wa elimu ya Uviko 19, by Constantine Mathias, Uhuru Newspaper: The government is asked to provide Covid-19 prevention education to deaf people.
- Wapi machapisho nukta nundu, mafunzo kwa lugha ya alama, Nipashe Newspaper: People with visual impairment complain about the lack of Braille on Covid-19 education leaflets.
- Treddta walemavu wanaotambaa na covid -19, by Christina Haule, Nipashe Newspaper: People who are deaf in Morogoro have requested on the need to have sign language services in hospitals to enable them to get proper services and be able to follow proper instruction from health experts.
- Umuhimu wa chanjo ya Covid-19 kwa watu wenye ulemavu, by Felister Richard, Gold FM, October 8, 2021: A live radio program involving people with disabilities discussing the importance of the Covid-19 vaccine.
- Mtoto mwenye ulemavu aliyefungiwa ndani na wazazi apata ufadhili kusoma, by Marco Maduhu, Nipashe, July 14, 2021: A young man who was locked in his house due to his disability gets a scholarship to attend school.
- Two stories about medical aid, food and money given to families of two children with disabilities. (Listen on Inclusive Media Internews in Tanzania on SoundCloud)
- Follow-up story about a student who became injured due to walking a long distance to school without a wheelchair. Social welfare supported his treatment after the story. Previous story of student who quit school due to his wounds.
- Sera Elimu Mjumuisho yatoa watoto 2,375 kuingia madarasani elimu mjumuisho Pemba, by Kitaifa, Kona ya Sheria, Wanawake & Watoto, Pemba Today, June 4, 2021: Inclusive education policy has enabled the enrollment of 2,375 students with disabilities who are in schools continuing their study at all educational level in Pemba.
- Maulid: “Ulemavu mchanganyiko haikuwa sababu ya kuwa omba omba, awa mjasiriamali tegemeo” by Ajira, Biashara, Kitaifa, Kona ya Sheria, Pemba Today, June 2, 2021: A profile of Maulid Kassim, a young clothes seller, who has physical and intellectual disabilities. Maulid has a wife and two children, and he is taking good care of his family through his business Pemba.
- JUWAUZA “acheni kuwa omba omba kwa kisingizio cha ulemavu,” by Kitaifa, Kona ya Sheria, Wanawake & Watoto, Pemba Today, June 1, 2021: The association of women with disabilities has urged people with disabilities to stop begging under the pretext of their disability status.
- Faiza Kassim aliyeivuna digrii ya uhasibu akiangaza kwa uoni hafifu, by Ajira, Kitaifa, Kona ya Sheria, Wanawake & Watoto, Pemba Today, May 28, 2021: A profile of Faiza Kassim, a young female who is blind and has a degree in accounting and finance, her successes, and challenges.
- Vijana wa kike wenye ulemavu Pemba waelekea kukatatamaa ajira za umma, by Ajira, Kitaifa, Kona ya Sheria, Siasa, Wanawake & Watoto, Pemba Today, May 28, 2021: Employment challenges facing young females with disabilities in Pemba as most of them have lost their hope of being employed contrary to the existing laws on inclusive employment.
- Wanaowahudumia wenye ulemavu wanasema haya…, by Marco Maduhu, IPP Media, May 25, 2021: Story focusing on institutions that provide aid and services to people with disabilities in the Shinyanga region.
- Mchungaji atoa msaada kwa watoto wenye mahitaji maalum, by Marco Maduhu, IPP Media, April 28, 2021: A pastor provides support to disabled children.
- People with disabilities can help the fight against climate crisis, Community Voices Zimbabwe
People to follow
- Jackie Njagi Lidubwi: @jackielidubwi on Twitter – Changing the Disability Narrative in Media Across sub-Saharan Africa
- Beth Haller: @Mediadisdat on Twitter | Media dis&dat blog – a database of news and information about people with disabilities, disability issues and media topics
Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs)
When reporting on disability, it is imperative to consult with and interview people with disabilities who are directly affected by the issues you are covering. Here is a partial list of DPOs around the world.
- China: One Plus One Disabled Persons’ Cultural Development Center (北京一加一残障人文化发展中心)
- Russia: Perspektiva
- Somalia: Somali Disability Empowerment Network (SODEN)
- Tanzania: Tanzania Federation of Disabled People’s Organizations (SHIVYAWATA)
- Zimbabwe: Disabled Women Support Organization (DWSO)
- Women Enabled International: works at the intersection of women’s rights and disability rights to advance the rights of women and girls with disabilities around the world.
- International Disability Alliance: an Alliance of 14 global and regional organisations of persons with disabilities who advocate at the United Nations for a more inclusive global environment for everyone.
Information and data to assist on reporting on specific issues:
- Human Rights Watch – reports on disability from around the world
- Violence against Women and Girls with Disabilities, Latin America and the Caribbean, Inter-American Development Bank
- Refugees with Disabilities, the Women’s Refugee Commission
- Building Capacity for Disability Inclusion in Gender-Based Violence Programming in Humanitarian Settings, the Women’s Refugee Commission
- Sharing and learning on inclusion of aging and disability in the Syrian crisis, UNHCR and partner organizations
Internews projects on media and disability:
Internews’ disability media projects include training on how to report on disability; training for disabled activists on staying safe online; supporting the production of radio programs, films, and apps that address disability issues; offering mentoring and equipment to disabled journalists; and holding media literacy and press relations workshops for DPOs. Below are impact stories, commentary and updates on our work with disability and media.
Webinars on Reporting on Disability
- Reporting on Disability – Webinar #3, June 17, 2021 – focus on national and international frameworks on the rights of persons with disabilities and the role of the press in educating the public about these frameworks and their implementation.
- Reporting on Disability – Webinar #2, June 3, 2021 – focus on terminology
- Reporting on Disability – Webinar #1, May 20, 2021 – Jackie Lidubwi, Internews’ Project Manager for the Inclusive Media Project in Sub-Saharan Africa, introduces our series on reporting on disability (apologies: due to technical difficulties, the captions were not included in the video recording).
- Côte d’Ivoire
- Côte d’Ivoire / L’ONG Internews renforce les capacités des journalistes, Opera News, September 1, 2021 – Internews is organizing a series of training courses to help journalists improve their coverage of disability-related issues.
- Atelier de formation d’Internews : Comment rendre les journalistes ivoiriens « sensibles aux questions liées au handicap », Fratmat.info, August 31, 2021 – Close to 30 Ivorian journalists are participating in a training workshop for “better coverage of issues related to disability in the media.”
- Internews Medialab contribue sur trois jours à faire changer le regard sur les personnes handicapées à Abidjan, Afrique Economie, August 31, 2021
- Prise en charge des personnes handicapées en Côte d’Ivoire : un ministère dédié à la question au sein du gouvernement s’impose (Dogo Raphaël), July 20, 2021
- Les organisations des personnes handicapées appellent les médias au secours, Connection Ivoirienne.net, July 17, 2021
- Table ronde des rédacteurs en chef des médias sur, les problématiques visant les personnes en situation d’handicap, Info Directe, July 16, 2021
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- Retombées de l’atelier-débat de Silikin Village : INTERNEWS et COPH recommandent aux patrons des Médias de changer de narratif pour l’inclusion professionnelle des PVH, by Rédaction, Géopolis Hebdo, December 9, 2021: Internews and COPH recommend that media bosses change the narrative for the professional inclusion of people with disabilities.
- RDC : Internews engagé à accompagner la voix et la participation des personnes handicapées, Lisapo, May 28, 2021
- RDC: Les professionnels de médias invités à s’intéresser aux questions liées à l’handicap, RD.Congo News, May 28, 2021
- RDC : COPH et Internews en table-ronde à Kinshasa, Africa News, May 28, 2021
- Couverture médiatique des problèmes des personnes handicapées : Les journalistes appelés à promouvoir la bonne image des personnes handicapées, Geopolis Magazine, May 27, 2021
- PWDs Reject Media Sympathy, by Scovian Lillian, The Coast, December 16, 2021: A regional disability activist challenged the Kenyan media to actively and continuously highlight their stories that focus more on their abilities rather than their state of being only meant for attracting pity.
- Media faulted over its coverage of people living with disabilities, by Isaac Swila, Media Innovation Network, December 10, 2021: According to Internews, Africa’s media coverage of people living with disabilities (PwDs) has not been impressive and misrepresented this part of society.
- Liberia: Promote accurate images, enhance voices of PWD, by Lewis S. Teh, New Dawn Liberia, December 5, 2021: The President of the Publishers Association of Liberia, Mr. Othello B. Garblah has urged his colleagues to promote accurate images and enhance the voices of people with disabilities.
- People with disability in focus, Women Voices, December 5, 2021
- Clarion Call To Amplify Voices Of Disabled People In Liberia, Public Trust Media Group, September 28, 2021
- From “Mat to Mattress”: National Commission On Disabilities Opens Businesses For PwDs, News Public Trust, September 21, 2021
- Liberia: Disabled in Bong County Receive Help From Government, AllAfrica, September 22, 2021
- Internews-Liberia Holds High Level Editors Roundtable With Media, PWDs, FAAPA, February 4, 2021
- Liberia’s Disability Community: “New Narrative” on the Internews Model, Global News Network Liberia, April 14, 2021
- Namibia: Journalists Brush Up On Disabilities Reporting, by Emilie Shimbali, AllAfrica, October 4, 2021
- Zaidi ya bilioni tatu zakopeshwa kwa vikuti vya watu wenye ulemavu (audio file), by Bilson Vedustus, Nyemo FM Dodoma, December 7, 2021: More than Tshs 3 billion have been given to groups of people with disabilities as affordable loans.
- Jamii Izingatie Haki Za Watu Wenye Ulemavu (audio file), by Bahati Msanjila, AFM Dodoma, December 7, 2021: The government advised to put in place strategies that will educate the public on the rights of people with disabilities.
- Sera, sheria ya wenye ulemavu kupitiwa upya, by Nora Damian, Mtanzania Newspaper, December 6, 2021: The government promises to review policies and laws that protect people with disabilities.
- The wife of the vice president promises to build a modern house for a family of four children with intellectual disabilities who now live in a one-room mud hut with their mother. (Watch the video)
- Flaviana Matata Foundation yasaidia taulo za kike wanafunzi wenye ulemavu, By Mtanzania Digital, September 2, 2021: A foundation donates sanitary towels to students in Dar es salaam after a story reveals that disabled students were missing school because they couldn’t afford the towels.
- Call for strategy to end stigma against disabled kids, IPP Media, September 14, 2021: Programme coordinator for Internews Shaaban Maganga said there is a need for more educational reporting from journalists on the disabled.
- Mkuu wa wilaya ya Tunduru aguswa na changamoto za watu wenye ulemavu, aanza kuzifanyia kazi, Mtwara Press Club, August 2, 2021: After Mtwara Press Blog reported on the challenges facing people with disabilities in Tunduru district council in Ruvuma region, the Government set a plan to identify and reach out to them.