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Give equal opportunities to people with disabilities – employers urged

HORIZONTAL

By Marrian Rushwaya

Radio and television personality Ian Vambe has bemoaned continued reluctance by employers to grant people with disabilities equal opportunities to work in the media as is the case with their able-bodied counterparts.

Addressing delegates to a MISA-Zimbabwe organised Broadcasting Stakeholders Meeting held at Meikles HoteI on Wednesday, Vambe said there was lack of representation of people with disabilities in the state broadcaster as was the case with the country’s broader media arena.

“We have never seen a news presenter on wheelchair and that is a message on its own,” said Vambe.

“We have about 20 producers and 3 sign language interpreters who usually perform on the sign language desk when the president and other officials are speaking.”

HORIZONTAL

Vambe, who was asked to present on the topic, ‘Making broadcasting more inclusive from the perspective of People with Disabilities’, said in some programmes, there would be no sign language interpreters which make it difficult for people with an auditory disability to follow.

“We have programmes like, Talking Farming where there are no representatives on the sign language desk; then those with disabilities are going to be left out,” said the ZBC employee.

Vambe went on to say it was difficult for media owners to employ people with disabilities within their workspaces as are generally expensive to cater for because of their conditions.

“The reason why is it difficult to employ them even if they are qualified for the job is because they are expensive to cater for and they need special treatment,” said the broadcaster.

HORIZONTAL

“If they are to cover stories in faraway places, it will be difficult for them to travel in terms of transport that’s the greatest challenge.

“Even in media industry, it will be difficult because some of the offices are not accessible and the case of lifting them up shows some sort of undermining them.”

Vambe called on policy makers to invent mechanisms to accommodate people with disabilities as they are denied equal opportunities by different employers.

He also urged fellow journalists to desist from habitually portraying marginalised groups as objects of sympathy and referring them in all manner of contemptuous names.

The one-day event was also attended by Information Deputy Minister Kindness Paradza, MPs who form parliament’s broadcasting committee, members of the academia, civil society and some media players.

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