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Reporting about people with disabilities

physically handicapped woman in CambodiaIn many societies, people with disabilities are pushed aside – be they mentally challenged or physically impaired. Some of them have to beg for money in the streets, others stay out of sight or are even locked away.

In Cambodia, the country’s Disability Action Council (DAC) estimates that nearly five percent of the population of 14.9 million people is disabled. According to the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), Cambodia’s high disability rates can be attributed to three main factors:
• “past war casualties
• the ongoing risk of mines,
• the lack of prevention and primary care for various disabling diseases.”

The Cambodian media don’t often deal with the lives of the disabled. One reason may be shyness or ignorance on the part of the journalists about the life of people with disabilities. But two recent television training workshops have helped improve the way journalists portray people with disabilities in the media. They were jointly organized by DW Akademie, Germany’s GIZ and the Women’s Media Centre of Cambodia.