The Disability Rights Advocacy Centre, DRAC, has trained journalists on disability inclusion towards advancing and promoting the rights of Persons with Disabilities, PWDs, in Nigeria.
The three-day media retreat which is supported by Ford Foundation is aimed at strengthening the capacity of media practitioners to use their platforms to promote the rights of PWDs.
Speaking at the opening session of the media retreat, Executive Director of DRAC, Dr. Irene Patrick-Ogbogu explained that the importance of the retreat was to engage the media, as critical stakeholders, on how to promote and protect the rights of PWDs.
While noting that the media is a great ally to promoting disability rights issues, Dr. Patrick-Ogbogu mentioned that the media can also pose challenges for the disability-inclusive movement because of the perspectives at which PWDs are being reported.
DRAC’s ED who noted that the role of the media in achieving a disability-inclusive world cannot be overemphasised, also explained that, “we still live in a community where disability discrimination is very high and rights of PWDs being abused on a daily basis. We are engaging the media to serve as watchdogs to ensure that the rights of PWDs are fulfilled.”
She also mentioned that DRAC has been working to promote the rights of women and girls with disabilities, revealing that DRAC’s activities also include “strengthening the implementation of the Disability Act, access to assistive devices for PWDs and promoting the use of disability disaggregated data.”
On her part, Mojisola Odeyinde, Programs Officer, DRAC who spoke on the models of disability and the appropriate terminologies for disability, shared that the media are fond of portraying PWDs in the negative perspectives.
She highlighted that PWDs should not be treated with sympathy and that media practitioners should be professional and focused in their reportage about PWDs.
Also facilitating a session, Amaka Agwu, Programs Lead, DRAC, spoke on the provisions of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disability (Prohibition) Act 2018, and explained that the media has a role to play, to ensure that members of the public are aware of the law, and comply with the provisions.
The media retreat was an engaging session which created an opportunity for journalists to improve their knowledge on disability rights and the concept of disability inclusion.
The three-day training which was held in Abuja had participants from broadcast, print and online media platforms across Nigeria.