DRAC to improve media reportage with handbook on SRHR, SGBV

Disability Rights Advocacy Centre (DRAC) has developed a handbook on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and Sexual and Gender Based violence (SGBV).

The handbook will help unpack concepts, definitions within disability inclusion and SRHR issues in order to improve media practitioners in the reporting.

During the sensitization meeting recently held in Abuja, the Programme Officer, DRAC, Amaka Agwu explained that media practitioners need to make deliberate effort to improve their knowledge on disability reporting through engaging Persons With Disabilities (PWDs).

She said studies have showed that portrayal of PWDs in the media resulted in a favourable change in individual attitudes towards them.

According to her, PWDs believe the media generally frame words and description of PWDs in stigmatised and undignified ways.

She said the media representations have frequently spread stereotypes of people with disabilities, reinforcing a sick role or the need for pity .

She said the media tends to portray people with disabilities as miserable, victims, helpless, unstable or even dangerous .

Agwu said that the media played vital role in advancing the integrity of PWDs especially women and girls with disabilities because it was fundamental to respecting and fulfilling their human rights.

She said that when exposed to media stories about the accomplishments of people with disabilities, people were more likely to develop positive and confident self-identities.

She said that the media was saddled with the responsibility of spotlighting and bringing to the fore the lived experiences of woman and girls with disabilities who continue to be trapped in cycles of SGBV.

The result, she said is that they are unable to access SRHR services due to exclusionary practices and barriers.

She explained that rather than call people deaf and dumb, they should be called a person who is deaf and rather than refer to people as dwarf, they should be called persons of stature or little person among others.

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