Reporting on Disability discussed at the IBA Karachi

Karachi (Muhammad Yasir) The Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi’s Journalism Society in collaboration with NOWPDP organized a panel discussion titled Reporting on Disability: The Issues and the Role of Journalists at the IBA Karachi, City Campus. The purpose of the discussion was to educate journalists about the issues faced by people with disability and the role that media should play in this regard. The panel discussion was attended by media students and working journalists.

The panelists included former Assistant Editor Dawn, Ms. Zubeida Mustafa; former journalist, Mr. Ahmed Yusuf; Chief Operating Officer, Karachi Downs Syndrome Program, Ms. Samar Naqvi; Regional Manager Family Educational Services Foundation, Mr. Ali Noonari.

Discussing about the stigma attached to the issue, Ms. Mustafa said, “People with disability are severely stigmatized. Many blind people do not carry a cane to assist in their movement because they feel embarrassed.”

Another panelist Mr. Yusuf said, “Public transport does not cater to the needs of those who have some kind of disability. This and other systemic issues alienates many of them from an active professional life, although they have the capability and the skills to work in various kinds of industries.”

“The media industry needs to move beyond sensationalized inspirational stories of persons with disability. The focus should be on structural deficiencies. Many people with disability receive training only in vocational institutes and then have limited occupational opportunities. Reforms are strongly needed at the level of educational institutes,” stressed Ms. Naqvi.

Highlighting the importance of the role that media should play in creating awareness about the topic, Mr. Noonari added, “As the International Day for Disability is approaching, media has a role to play. The government now issues driving licenses to deaf people. But there is a need to train traffic police wardens to properly communicate with a deaf person.”