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NEW guidelines providing television and radio programme makers with advice on the benefits and practicalities of working with people with disabilities have been launched by the Independent Television Commission (ITC) and Broadcasters' Disability Network (BDN).
“Adjusting the Picture” is published with the support of the Disability Rights Commission (DRC). It is intended to encourage broadcasting professionals to seize the opportunities of working with people with disabilities across a wide range of programmes, not just when the content relates to “disability issues”.
Colin Stanbridge, Managing Director, Carlton Broadcasting and Chairman of BDN: “The Guide dispels some myths about the perceived complications which might deter producers from actively recruiting people with disabilities for their crew, cast or as participants in programmes and in audiences. It gives practical guidance on ways in which any necessary adjustments might be made. Above all, it encourages producers to see beyond the stereotypes and access a range of talent, ideas and experience of which they might not have been aware.”
Patricia Hodgson, Chief Executive of the ITC, said: “Broadcasters have a responsibility to reflect our society in all its diversity and while there are a few examples of excellence in this area, they are still the exception. Millions of viewers with disabilities are not being represented as members of this society, either in programmes or in advertising. In publishing this guide, our intention is to help and encourage programme makers – and commissioning editors – to give this issue their attention.”
Speaking at the launch, Broadcasting Minister, Dr Kim Howells said: “The broadcasting industry has made good progress on gender and ethnicity in employment and on-screen representation. However, there is still much more to be done to ensure that the diversity of this country is adequately reflected. There are well over eight million people with disabilities in the UK. People with disabilities are a significant part of your audience. - yet they are almost invisible in programmes and significantly under-represented in the industry's workforce.”
“The industry has additional responsibilities because of the fundamental role it plays in shaping and changing public attitudes,” he continued.
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