Workshop on disability reporting held in Addis Ababa
Training on reporting on disabilities took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 21 to 22 May 2007.
The workshop entitled "Disability reporting from a human rights perspective" was a joint training initiative for East African journalists organized by UNESCO and the Secretariat of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities
The event brought together journalists from Burundi, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda and provided an opportunity to share professional experiences, promote South-South cooperation and support balanced reporting on people with disabilities.
The intensive 2-day event provided a combination of theory and practice. Participating journalists gained insights into the concerns of people with disabilities, received statistical data, information on the new United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and terminology through a series of informative lecture discussions. Field visits to organizations and projects addressing the needs of people with disabilities provided first-hand opportunities for the print, TV and radio journalists to interview and interact with this people.
More than 10% of the world's population have a physical or mental disability and in post-conflict and conflict zones this may rise to as much as 25%. These persons often contribute to their own socio-economic development and that of their family but this contribution is often neither recognized nor valued.
Journalists as professional communicators are in a unique position to shape the public image of persons with disabilities. The words and images they use can create balanced views or insensitive portrayal that reinforces common myths and promote discrimination. We hope the workshop will promote recognition and respect for the human rights of persons and make their contributions and concerns more visible in the media and society.
The Addis Ababa event was the first activity organized by UNESCO and the Secretariat of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities. One outcome of this partnership event is the development of a nascent network of East African journalists promoting media initiatives and information that seeks to be inclusive of persons with disabilities. Plans are also underway for a second workshop, in West Africa which is expected to take place in October 2007.
The Secretariat of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities is located in Cape Town, South Africa and facilitates the implementation of the African Union's Continental Plan of Action for persons with disabilities. UNESCO implements a range of global activities in its fields of competence to support their broader social participation.
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