The image of disabled persons in television
In connection with the first anniversary of the adoption of U.N. conventions on the rights of the disabled in Poland and numerous appeals for the promotion of a positive image of such persons in the media, the National Broadcasting Council issued a request to television broadcasters for information on methods of meeting the above demands in programming offered on digital terrestrial television.
The National Broadcasting Council shares the view of disabled persons’ institutions and communities that the portrayal of the disabled in electronic media as rightful citizens who are able to successfully fulfildiverse roles in society, in the family and at work contributes to greater public awareness as well as eliminates existing stereotypes.
Eight out of nine broadcasters requested for information have responded: Lemon Records (polo TV), Grupa Radiowa Time (Eska TV), Stavka (TTV), ATM Grupa (ATM Rozrywka), Telewizja Puls, TVN, Polsat and TVP. The National Broadcasting Council did not receive a response from Polish Media (TV 4 and TV 6).
From the replies received from the broadcasters, it can be seen that the disabled are most often the subjects of reporting or documentaries showing life from the perspective of such people and their caretakers, as well as subjects of reports from the Paralympics or other disabled sport events.
The National Broadcasting Council has noted the small share of programming showing the disabled and their lives, which are mainly shown through the lens of their problems, unhappiness, barriers, their need for assistance, and interventions in the matter of regulations making it more difficult to fully function.
Stories related to the lives of people with disabilities also appear in several shows and series shown by broadcasters. In individual cases, some were participants in TV contests and talent shows or were part of a judges’ panel on such broadcasts.
Problematic aspects connected with disability appeared at a greater rate in the non-broadcasting activity of broadcasters whose programmes are currently offered on digital terrestrial television. The broadcasters organize concerts and festivals, charity drives and public campaigns devoted or accessible to people with disabilities, and provide media sponsorship to such events.
The National Broadcasting Council accepts with great hope the broadcasters’ declaration regarding an increased share of programming devoted to the disabled, and also draws attention to the social need for a stronger emphasis on their positive image. This topic has a permanent place in the work carried out by the National Broadcasting Council.
More information on the UN conventions may be found here: