The Disabled to Court Media Support ... to Highlight Plight

Wednesday, October 31, 2001 4:20 PM EST

Accra, Oct 31, 2001 (Ghanaian Chronicle/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) -- The Ghana Federation of the Disabled, a national cross-disability grouping, is to harness the power of the media to make changes in the Ghanaian perception of people with disability.

To this effect, a guidebook to assist media professionals in Ghana in creating more positive portrayals of disability issues was launched in Accra last week in honour of the association .

The book, entitled "Positive Portrayals of Disability," is practical, providing case studies to demonstrate the barriers faced by persons with disability as well as providing key contacts for experienced spokespersons on disability issues.

Speaking at a disability awareness programme for media professionals in Ghana last week, Mr. Yaw Boadu Ayeboafo, Executive Secretary of the Media Commission, said about 10 per cent of the country's population do suffer from one form of disability.

He urged the media to create awareness that will help encourage people with disability to contribute to national development, adding that "being a disabled does not mean you have a mental faculty.'

Continuing, he called on the public not to undermine the disabled as they have a greater role to play in national issues.

To this end, Ayeboafo appealed to the media to respond positively by teaming up with them to make society as help them with their needs as well help them develop their talents.

On his part, Mr. Devine Kwapong, a representative from the Ministry of Media Relations, urged the society to set up a website for people with disability in order to help them communicate with others elsewhere or improve upon their communication skills.

He also appealed to the media to organise programmes that will educate them on their rights as Ghanaians.

Kwaku Sakyi Addo, the host of Kwaku One-on-One on GTV, in a remark, called on parents living with people with disability to take them to school right from infancy to be trained as doctors and lawyers, among others.

Stressing on the importance of giving equity to people with disability, he appealed to government to extend its era of positive change to people with disability by considering them for positions in governance, adding that "they must be beneficiaries of positive change."

by Racheal O. Amakye