Persons with Disabilities in Television Programming
Ottawa , September 16, 2005 -- The Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) today submitted to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) its research report titled The Presence, Portrayal and Participation of Persons with Disabilities in Television Programming.
The Report provides extensive detail on the issues and barriers challenging persons with disabilities, in society and in television programming alike. It further provides a series of recommendations for the development of a broadcaster tool kit to move forward on greater inclusion of persons with disabilities within the broadcasting industry; and for addressing issues of presence and portrayal on-screen.
“Recognizing that all media, and particularly television can play a strong role in changing public attitudes on social issues, Canada’s private broadcasters are committed to improving the presence, portrayal and participation of persons with disabilities in television programming. Our comprehensive report demonstrates this commitment but also highlights that our collective success depends on the collaboration and contribution of our industry partners,” said CAB President and CEO Glenn O’Farrell.
A Steering Committee, comprised of CAB members and chaired by Sarah Crawford, Vice-President, Public Affairs, CHUM Limited, was created to oversee the development and implementation of a detailed Action Plan. The Steering Committee recommended a number of tools and initiatives for broadcasters and industry partners based on its research findings from over 50 one-on-one consultations, a stakeholder forum and best practices research. An Outreach Committee comprised of persons with disabilities, many of whom have experience with the broadcasting industry, served as an invaluable advisory group on the implementation of the CAB’s research plan and provided invaluable input on the recommendations and tools.
The Steering Committee concluded that in order for the recommendations to succeed, the initiatives must take place at one of three levels: at the level of the individual station, broadcaster or corporate group; at the level of the broadcasting industry as a whole; or within other designated sectors, such as the independent production sector or the education sector.
Both the Steering and the Outreach Committee members recognized that implementation will take place primarily at the level of individual station, broadcaster or corporate group, as initiatives need to be tailored to their individual business realities.
Canada ’s private broadcasters are committed to the development and implementation of initiatives that improve and advance diversity in the industry. Last year, the CAB adopted the recommendations advanced by the Task Force for Cultural Diversity on Television. These recommendations were made following a major qualitative and quantitative study on ethnocultural minorities and Aboriginal peoples in Canadian television in 2004.
The 100-page report and research study is the culmination of the work set out in the CAB Action Plan submitted to the CRTC in August 2004. The full report and research study can be found at:
The Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) is the national voice of Canada’s private broadcasters, representing the vast majority of Canadian programming services, including private radio and television stations, networks, specialty, pay and pay-per-view services.
- 30 -
For more information, please contact:
The Presence, Portrayal and Participation of Persons
In January 2004, the CRTC requested that the CAB develop and file an action plan with the Commission, outlining the process proposed to examine and address issues concerning the presence, portrayal and participation of persons with disabilities in television programming (Public Notice 2004-2). The CAB undertook a number of consultations and background research in developing an Action Plan that was submitted to the Commission in August 2004.
The Research Study :
The CAB retained CONNECTUS Consulting Inc. to undertake the qualitative research study on the presence, portrayal and participation of persons with disabilities in television programming that included:
This approach to the research has yielded a comprehensive Report that provides extensive detail on the issues and barriers challenging persons with disabilities, in society and in television programming alike. It further provides a series of considerations for a broadcaster tool kit in moving forward on greater inclusion of persons with disabilities in our industry and for addressing issues of presence and portrayal on-screen.
Key Points of Consensus:
The Steering and Outreach Committees identified the following key points of consensus for the development of a set of initiatives directed at improving the presence, portrayal and participation of persons with disabilities in television programming:
Highlights of Initiatives and Tools
The CAB will create a Public Service Announcement (PSA) directed at influencing a positive shift in public attitudes about persons with disabilities that may be broadcast on our members’ stations. The launch of the PSA is expected for the Fall of 2006.
The CAB will review its Industry Content Codes by Spring of 2006 to address issues identified in the research relating to the portrayal of persons with disabilities in television programming.
The CAB will develop a training seminar for HR and other managers in television broadcasting. Such a training seminar will be developed for implementation in 2006 with input from the disability community and will serve to sensitize the industry to the specific – and often cost-effective – ways in which persons with disabilities can be accommodated in the broadcasting workplace
The CAB will develop an information package about employment in the broadcasting and production sectors, for wide distribution to broadcasters, educators, and the disability community. The information package will include a brochure explaining the types of employment available in broadcasting and production and will be posted on the Diversity in Broadcasting section of the CAB website.
The CAB, seeking the input of the disability community and the cooperation of the RTNDA, will develop educational material on inappropriate use of language. This material is envisioned as an information brochure that would be circulated to CAB and RTNDA members and posted on the CAB’s Diversity in Broadcasting section of its website and its members’ websites. The CAB will undertake this initiative with RTNDA immediately, for completion in 2006.