Media & Disability

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Increasing and improving portrayal of people with disabilities in the media

Why this project?

There is a general perception that people with disabilities, who constitute a 10% of the population, are clearly underrepresented in mainstream media.

While there are some disability specific programs or advertising campaigns, very rarely people with disabilities appear in mainstream programs or in mainstream advertising spots.

Moreover, when people with disabilities appear in media, they are portrayed in a stigmatising and stereotyped way, appearing either as superheroes or as objects of pity and compassion.

Very rarely people with disabilities appear in a way which shows that they constitute, as any other group in society, a very diverse population group.

Very few people with disabilities work in the media industry which is clearly the best way on how to mainstream disability in the media.

How to change this?

The current project seeked to establish cooperation, mainly at national level, between mainstream media and disability organisations which should initiate a process of change of the current unsatisfactory situation.

The project has developed new and disseminate already existing resources to be put at the disposal of the mainstream media industry (producers, broadcasters, publicity and communication agencies and others) and disability organisations to show how things can be done in a more respectful but also more attractive way.

The project was supported by a number of experts from media, advertising and disability NGOs with profound knowledge in this rather new field of expertise.

Action plans have been developed by the project partners in 9 different countries (Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UK) which were based on a cooperative approach.

Who supported the project and who coordinated it?

This project was funded by the Disability Unit of the DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities through a call for proposals launched in 2005.

The project started in early 2006 and finished at the end of 2007.

The project has been coordinated by Fundación ONCE (Spain) in partnership with 12 other organisations (see list of project partners) from 9 different countries.

How to contact us?

In case you want to receive additional information about this project, please send an email to