The Image Of Persons With Disabilities As Portrayed In A Newspaper

3873 words - 15 pages

The newspaper dailies, have the ability to link persons with disability to the world. Still, no research has been found specifically on persons with disabilities and their portrayal in the newspaper daily in India. Many studies have focused on the more general topic of disabilities in the news (Mick 1996; Power 2006; Haller, Dorries, and Rahn 2006). Person with disabilities are also part of the society. The newspaper dailies depict the persons with disabilities, as reflection of the society’s perspective about them. Content analysis of media is a traditional mass communication research method used to assess a wide range of media content trends (Poothullil J.M.Martin 2008). This research paper advocates for increased newspaper analysis within the disability studies field. Using a short term media research study about Hindustan Times (HT) Newspaper daily and its news coverage of disability issue. This paper explores the shifting nature of recent disability coverage in Mumbai newspapers, for a period of 3 months in 2012. Content analysis based research found that the newspaper under study reported sensational and gender biased news related to disability issues.

Persons with Disabilities have their image in society. It may be positive or negative. Media plays a significant role in creating the right image of persons with disability in society. Today, world population is 7,113,968,427 billion (GeoHive 2013) and hence estimated population of person with disabilities is 711 million, if we consider that 10% of world population are persons with disabilities as estimated by World Bank (2004), Sanchez (2010) and Cumberbatch (1992). If the current population (on 29th April 2013) of India is 1,271,876,934 billion, then the population of person with disability is estimated to be more than 100 million. However, India is signatory to the UNCRPD since 2007 as it ratified the same on 1st Oct.2007. Adhering to the UNCRPD guidelines, it is mandatory in a country like India, to create awareness in the society about disability (article-8 of UNCRPD). Hence, it is imperative that both government and non-government sectors in India adhere to these guidelines. In his exploration of the principles for media representations of disabled people in society, Colin Barnes (1992) states that ‘the overall view of disabled people is decidedly negative and a threat to the well- being of the non-disabled community’. The reason for this is that the person with disabilities lives in such condition that, media which have the ability to link persons with disability in society to the world, do not portray them as persons and discover their abilities. As a group, they are often grossly underrepresented in the media. The underrepresentation, then entails that the mass society who watch/view and listen to media may end up not knowing much about them. This paper seeks reaction which is necessary to convey a sentiment and priority of togetherness in the fight...

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