Disability Inclusive Reporting: Research reveals increase in appropriate language use in media

By Bakah Derick 

Research has revealed a relative increase in appropriate language use by media professionals covering disability related issues in Cameroon. The research titled Cameroon Newspaper Portrayal of Persons with Disabilities by Njodzefe Nestor was presented in Buea South West Region of Cameroon during a workshop assembling 30 media professionals working in the conflct hit North West and South West Regions of Cameroon. 

The study which involved quantitative and qualitative description of communication content of three newspapers in Cameroon had over 59 news stories content analysed
Njodzefe Nestor speaking at the Sisterspeak237 workshop on disability and gender inclusive reporting Buea 

According to the researcher, over 50% of the newspaper articles reviewed demonstrated some mastery of the language used in reporting disability issues. 

"Writing about disability is complicated and requires sensitivity." Njodzefe said adding that such sensitivity is a must for any form of journalism that involves persons with disabilities.
The research however revealed disturbing statistics on other issues around disability and inclusive reporting in Cameroon with a need to improve on general coverage and treatment, placement, size, tone, sources and attention. 

With 5.4 percent of people in Cameroon living with disabilities, Njodzefe argues that it is of absolute necessity to report about the issue as it effects not only those with disabilities but also their family and close ones. 
Chart of appropriate language use presented in Njodzefe's report 

"People with disabilities are frequently excluded from education, vocational training and employment opportunities. Disability affects not only the person with a disability, but also their families. Poverty and disability are interlinked. Poor people are more likely to have a disability because of the conditions in which they live. The global literacy rate for adults with disabilities is as low as three percent, and one percent for women with disabilities, according to UNDP" The researcher explained why  amongst many reasons reporting about disability matters 

The researcher has described his research as a launch pad for further investigations in how Cameroonian Newspapers portray persons with disabilities. 
Participants at the Sisterspeak237 workshop 

The Coordinator of Sisterspeak237 Comfort Mussa, organiser of the Buea gathering  has promised some assistance to media professionals present who will want to continue with disability and gender inclusive reporting. With support from the Swiss Embassy in Cameroon, she disclosed that support will be available in terms of mentorship and minimum financing. 

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