The world is losing valuable capabilities of many Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) due to societal barriers and perceptions.
Also, to avoid discrimination and stigmatization, PWDs tend to hide their full potential that may have helped the developmental agenda of countries, Madam Esther Cobbah, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Strategic Communications Africa (STRATCOM) Limited has said.
She, therefore, called on society to embrace, accept and support PWDs to bring out their full potential to support national development.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the second cohort of Media Capacity Building Initiative for Reporting on Disability (MCBIRD) in Takoradi, she called for the need to untap the full potentials of PWDs to promote sustainable development.
The training for 20 selected journalists was aimed at providing professional development, guidance, and resource platforms for journalists to give comprehensive reportage on the predicaments, challenges and impact of people living with disability.
She said the rate at which society discriminated, stigmatized, and neglected PWDs contributed to their inability to take part fully in national development.
On the role of journalists in providing comprehensive reportage for PWDs, Madam Cobbah said they needed to facilitate the enjoyment of rights of PWDs to ensure society contributed to help them enjoy their full rights.
She called on the journalists to focus on the PWDs and bring out the issues they meet for redress to enhance their growth and development.
Journalists could achieve the inclusion of PWDs through observing, researching and analyzing the situation of PWDs before reporting on the issues.
She said journalists needed to determine what different stakeholders required in relation to PWDs and understand their mindset to be able to deliver the message that could make a shift.
Madam Cobbah appealed to the citizenry to respect the dignity of PWDs and protect their rights for them to feel accepted.
She said sometimes, ignorance on the part of persons with disabilities with regards to their rights and privileges exposed them to unwarranted stigma and discrimination.
Similarly, the inability of others to accord persons with disabilities the needed dignity also stemmed from ignorance.
Hence in a bid to curtail the numerous challenges and create a better society for all, she charged media practitioners to lead the change in erasing such erroneous misconceptions within society.
Mr Wilson Arthur, the CEO of Sky Media Group, a facilitator, said that the media was a potentially transformational tool that could cause change to society.
“Media impart knowledge, skills and attitudes of patrons and staff,” he indicated, and tasked journalists to be the advocate of PWDs by going beyond the story.
Mr Arthur told them to be passionate and resourceful and go the extra mile to make an impact.