A one-day sensitization training workshop has been held for journalists in Accra on the use of positive non-discriminatory disability languages in the media to enable persons with disabilities to live to their full potential.
The training was organized by Hope For Future Generations and the PsykForum Consortium as part of the ‘Social Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) and stigma reduction for mental health and disability inclusion (Ghana Participatory SBC) project under the Ghana Somubi Dwumadie programme.
It seeks to support the development of positive language which could be used to engage the public toward reduction in negative and discriminatory attitudes, behaviours and norms faced by people with disabilities in Ghana, including people with mental health conditions.
The organizers of the programme said they identified journalists and the media as major stakeholders in ensuring behavioral change in society by promoting positive narratives around persons with disabilities.
Anthony Dogbedo, the Programmes Manager at HFFG in charge of the Ghana Somubi Dwumadie project said, “We realize that the language that is used in the media is often not positive. People use all forms of derogatory, stigmatizing and discriminating terms. The change we want to see is that we do not refer to people by their disability. For instance, referring to people with terms like deaf and mute, is offensive and should not be used at all.”
Anthony Dogbedo, Programmes Manager at HFFG in charge of Ghana Somubi Dwumadie said he was confident that the engagement with the journalists will provide a good foundation for further engagements with other stakeholders that will promote positive language around persons with disabilities.
“A lot of the media people themselves are not aware that these are derogatory terms. We will continue developing the document and continue sharing with the media and expect that the knowledge will be passed on to other practitioners so that together we can make society friendlier for people living with disabilities including persons with mental health conditions,” Mr. Dogbedo added.
Meanwhile, the consortium is continuing with its engagement with other stakeholders including traditional leaders, local assemblies and relevant state agencies.
The 3-year programme is being funded by UKaid through Options Consultancy Services and is being implemented in the Greater Accra, Central, Savannah and North –East regions.