Malawi Council for the Hand capped (MACOHA) has urgedjournalists in the country to use proper terminologies and language when writing stories of persons with disabilities.
Speaking to Nyasa Times after a daylong Media Orientation Training on Disability Mainstreaming Reporting that brought together Journalists from Balaka and Ntcheu districts, Ernest Zgambo who is MACOHA’s Rehabilitation Officer for Ntcheu said the training will help Journalists to use proper terminologies and language(s) as they will be writing their articles on people with disabilities.
“Sometimes what we hear from the radio or read in the Newspapers on persons with disabilities is very disgusting. The language used is not user friendly, so am optimistic that this training will act as an eye opener to our journalists when it comes to writing stories on persons or people with disabilities,” said Zgambo.
He further said the purpose of the training was to help the Scribes to differentiate acceptable and unacceptable disability terminologies and at the same time learn the importance of using acceptable terminologies.
“Am of the view that the training will help our Journalists to know the major forms of discriminatory language that we use and at the same time to learn about the appropriate language(s) to refer to persons with disabilities,” he said.
The Rehabilitation Officer further said the words that Journalists use have power to influence the altitudes of others towards other people.
“Sometimes these words can create myths that can result into discrimination of certain groups in our society,” Zgambo said
Zgambo said it is sad that most terminology used on people with disabilities have actually been disrespectful derogatory or it has been abound with labels that stem from ignorance, suspicion or lack of love and hope.
“As journalists, you should focus on the individuality not the disability. Persons with disabilities should be presented as individuals with a variety of qualities. Disability should not be the focus of description,” he said.
Zgambo said Journalists as agents of change should also advocate for structures that are disability friendly in their writings.
“Most of the buildings in Malawi are not disability friendly and let me appeal to all Malawians to construct ramps whenever they are putting their structures.”
The training that took place in Ntcheu on 12th June, 2015 brought together 10 Journalists from both the Print and Electronic.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :