The Institute of Media and Society (IMS), is set to produce a media guideline for disability-inclusive electoral coverage in Nigeria and has conducted a validation exercise to ensure the guideline captures the specific issues of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).
The validation exercise which captured different stakeholders from the Media, Academia, and Persons with Disabilities was conducted under its European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria project.
While giving his opening remark at the validation workshop, Dr. Akin Akingbulu, the Executive Director of IMS explained that the media guideline has been developed with the aim of addressing the challenges and gaps in the coverage of PWDs by the media.
Highlighting the role of the media in promoting access for PWDs in the electoral process, Dr. Akingbulu said that, “media is a major stakeholder because we’re talking about the portrayal of a section of our society and the deficit of their participation in various sectors of the society including the political setting.
“It is the media that has the responsibility to promote their cause and change perception and attitudes of the society towards PWD and ensure that PWDs get adequate visibility and access that they require.”
He tasked media professionals to make deliberate efforts to “create space for PWDs, portray their issues in a positive perspective and advocate for their equal participation in the political process.”
Delivering a presentation on the electoral rights of persons with disabilities, Blessing Oladunjoye, Publisher, BONews Service, highlighted the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD); the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance; the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act and the Electoral Act.
Oladunjoye mentioned that the legal frameworks have highlighted the role of governments and electoral commissions to ensure that voting procedures, facilities, and materials are appropriate, accessible, and easy to understand and use by PWDs.
The final version of the media guidelines for Disability Inclusion would be made available to Media Groups and relevant stakeholders to ensure that PWDs are adequately covered during the electoral process.