A Nigeria-based NGO, “Knowledge for The Blind Initiative,” in conjunction with Embassy of United States of America, Abuja, Nigeria, has trained Nigerian journalists on how to write and report disabilities.
During the Northwest zone’s training workshop at Kaduna Catholic Media Social Center, participants were advised to write and report the story of individuals with disabilities with respect and thoughtfulness.
In fact, occasions arise that rather than disabilities, participants agreed that people living with different challenges – physical or mental – should be addressed as people with “Special Needs.”
A paper presented by Andrew Gani-Ikilama on “Guidelines: How to Write and Report About People with Disabilities” urged journalists to report with special needs, first as a person before their challenges, if necessary.
Gani-Ikilama of “Knowledge for Blind Initiative” enjoined writers, editors, reporters and other communicators to strive to use the most accurate word and terminology in reporting about people with disabilities.
“However, inaccurate, archaic and offensive expressions are still commonly used, perpetuating stereotypes and beliefs about the people with disabilities,” he said. He also said, rather than wheelchair-bound, communicators mostly used to describe as victim-hood for wheelchair users, saying it’s subjective and not objective.
The booklet, “Guidelines: How to Write and Report About People with Disabilities,” was free distributed to help participants to use it to keep faith with the correct words used to describe disabilities in the course of their reporting.
Papers were also presented by resource persons on “The Power of Societal Attitude Towards Persons With Special Needs in Nigeria” as well as “The Power of Words in Blinding Community.”