Role of Media: A Powerful Pillar – Agra Convention 2014



Blind Stars Beyond Facebook Bridging The Gap

7th to 9th November, 2014

Session 3
Role of Media: A Powerful Pillar to Empower Visually Impaired People:

This key speaker of this session was Mr. Ajai Srivastava, former journalist and presently activist working for people with disabilities. The session was moderated by Mr. Prashant Tandon, Senior Television Programmer.

  • Various examples were cited by Mr. Ajai Srivastava where media served as an efficient tool in helping the visually impaired to avail their rights.
  • A number of cases were discussed where the system had to stop discriminating against the visually impaired once the media was brought in. Media has always fought for the cause of the visually impaired.
  • It was acknowledged by Mr. Prashant Tandon that the representation in media of the visually impaired is very less. It is necessary to bring about an increase in internal representation of the visually impaired in various platforms of media.
  • The media could serve as an excellent instrument to change skewed perceptions about the visually impaired and hence break down a lot of barriers for them. But, for this to happen, sensitization of the media is important.
  • Empowerment of the visually impaired could be possible by using different platforms of media for communication, of which, the group ‘Blind Stars’ is an apt example.
  • It was noted that the representation of the visually impaired in cinema is not appropriate. Since cinema plays a big role in shaping perceptions, appropriate representation of visually impaired people in cinema could be a tool to change discriminatory attitude towards them..
  • People with visual impairment are either ‘misrepresented’ or ‘under-represented’ in media.
  • There were some questions that were put forward by the delegates – If the vocabulary used by the media for addressing people with disabilities like ‘differently- abled people’ or ‘specially-abled people’is justified? And how to increase readership amongst visually impaired people so that media starts catering to this section of the society too?
  • It was stressed that interacting with media effectively to have them highlight the issues of the visually impaired requires certain communication skills. Some training modules should be developed to train people in this skill.
  • The module would involve training on how to approach media houses, press rooms, press agencies effectively.
  • It was felt that the media would take active interest in issues of the visually impaired if they are approached in such a way that their interest of publishing ‘stories with high readership content’.

Read the report – Agra Convention 2014 – Report – HTML with Audio/Video

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