TQM report,

The Executive Director, Deaf Women Aloud Initiative (DWAI), Hellen Beiyoku-Alase has called on media practitioners to render their services in a format that would be accessible for the Deaf.

She made this appeal on Friday in Abuja in a One-Day workshop organized for Media Practitioners by Deaf Women Aloud Initiative (DWAI) in collaboration with Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) under European Union in Nigeria, British Council Nigeria & Marie Stopes Nigeria.

Mrs. Hellen in her opening speech while appreciating the participants for honouring their invitation said that the workshop which is first of its kind, Deaf Inclusive reporting is being looked was put together to commemorate International Week of the Deaf & International Sign-Language Day. She said that the workshop was designed to aim at amplifying and connecting the voice of Deaf people in Nigeria in line with the UN Convention On the Rights of Persons with Disabilities(UNCRPD).

Speaking further, she highlighted the importance of identifying with or recognizing Sign language and Deaf culture, saying that it will improve service delivery for the Deaf community. She charged media practitioners on deaf inclusion saying that the media has the ability to set the pace for Deaf inclusion for other organization to copy and again, the media is saddled with role of educating and informing the public, it is the way the media portrays Deaf persons will determine the perception about Deaf people in Nigeria. She urged media practitioners to promote the positive aspect of Deaf people and also use acceptable terms while reporting issues about Deaf people.

She informed that reporting using format that the Deaf can understand is a matter of right, UNCRPD and Nigeria Disability Act mandates that every information should be in format every person with disability can understand. She appealed to media practitioners to adopt Deaf Inclusive reporting because it will enhance better understanding and help Deaf people to feel involved, engaged, and supported and are not at disadvantaged in everyday situations that hearing people take for granted.

The workshop witnessed capacity building of media practitioners on how they can mainstream Deaf people in the media reportage which was facilitated by Martha Aga, a Deaf lady and Disability Inclusion which was facilitated by Hellen Beyioku-alase, some tips on how to engage a Deaf people and different means of making information available for Deaf people for instance making sure that sign language interpretation is present in all television station and in absence of it, close captioning can also be very useful to keep deaf people following the event. The participants were encouraged to learn sign language which is the language of the Deaf and whenever they want to engage the services of sign language interpreters, they should consult the organization of deaf persons to avoid engaging unqualified sign language interpreters.

They taught the participants some basic sign language and introduce them to an online sign language class(I-sign) where they can learn how to sign within few months for no fee.

Over 50 media practitioners both print, electronic, online participated and interestingly they indicated to explore and learn more about Sign language and Deaf culture.

TQM learnt the DWAI also provided an opportunity for physical sign language class for any media practitioner who prefers physical class than online class.

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