The Public Affairs Officer, United States Consulate, Lagos, Stephen Ibelli has urged media organisations and practitioners to start treating disability right as a human right.
The media, he said, has a very important role to play in changing the culture of how issues of disability are seen in the country.
Speaking at a virtual disability-inclusive reporting training organised by Project Enable Africa in partnership with the United States Consulate, Lagos, Ibelli, stressed that the society is defined by how it treats its poorest populace and those who need help.
While urging the media to increase disability-inclusive content in their reportage, Ibeli also emphasised the importance of appropriate choice pf words in reporting disability issues.
“Disability right is an important part of human right and the United States Government is committed to promoting it.”
“The Nigerian Disability Act is a great base to build on, however, there is so much work to be done, towards having an inclusive society,” he said.
Also speaking at the webinar, the Executive Director, Centre for Citizens With Disabilities, David Anyaele lamented that wrong use of words over the years has further increase stereotypes and discrimination on disability, noting that must begin to be mindful of the usage ow words while writing stories on disability issues.
He said: “It is better to refer to us as Persons With Disabilities, or physically challenged as opposed to saying crippled”.
Anyaele also tasked the media on accurate and objective reporting of disability issues by the media.
He urged media organisations to champion the implementation of the Nigerian Disability Act.
Implementing the Act, he said, would help in tackling some of the challenges of disability in the country.
Also speaking at the Webinar, the Executive Director, Project Enable Africa, Olusola Owonikoko said his organisation was working on to helping to build a network media practitioners committed to the issue of disability in Nigeria.
“The ultimate goal of the project is to build the capacity of media organisations across Nigeria in disability-inclusive reporting. Ultimately, we will create a Media for Disability-inclusive Reporting Network, comprising of traditional, print, and new media practitioners who will champion disability mainstreaming in the media sector,” Owonikoko said.
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