By Festus Zenda, INN Abuja
Disability Rights Advocacy Center (DRAC), a not-for-profit Civil Society Organization that works to promote the rights of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and their inclusion in Development Agendas, has appealed to selected media stakeholders on the need to be proactive in delivering Disability inclusive reports on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV). The group also called for disability related reporting aimed at discouraging the use of demeaning language in addressing Persons with Disabilities.
Executive Director of DRAC, Dr. Irene Patrick-Ogbogu made the plea in a one-day workshop organized to sensitize media practitioners on Disability inclusive reporting on SGBV/SHRH at Dennis hotel, Abuja, on Monday
In her address, Dr. Irene expressed displeasure that reporters are proving adamant to advice on avoiding the use of wrong vocabulary in PWDs related reportage. This is despite having been cautioned repeatedly against the use of such derogatory and stereotypical diction.
Dr. Irene who was represented by DRAC program officer, Miss Amaka Agwu, enjoined all media practitioners present at the meeting to detest from using inciting language or names in referring to Persons With Disabilities, adding that there are more appropriate terms to use.
Miss. Agwu further stressed that journalism is one of the fastest and effective ways of creating awareness on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) and Violence against Women and Girls with Disability (VAWGWDs) in the community. Such approach, she believes, can help reduce the rising level of crimes against Women and Girls with Disability (WGWDs) as well as enlighten society on the subject of discrimination against PWDs.
While admitting instances of men suffering violence in the hands of women, she noted do not compare with the alarming rate at which the female gender, especially WGWDs, have suffered.
According to Miss Agwu, these WGWDs are most vulnerable, and in most cases helpless as a result of their disabilities and for want of a voice to defend themselves or call for help.
She further said there is need for cooperation and support by the media, government and the general public in the fight to bring an end to this injustice.”
Other focus discussions at the event centered on Understanding Disability, Sexual and Gender Based Violence, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Disability Inclusion, Media Coverage of Disability, etc.
Echoing through each of the focus discussions were lectures on guidelines for media personnel on becoming better allies to Persons with Disabilities, appropriate terminologies for disability reportage, recommendations, etc.
Participants were given handbooks on Disability Inclusive SGBV/SHRH reportage at the end of the workshop.