`Access to Media in Zambia: The Special case of Persons Living With Perception Disabilities(The Deaf and Blind) In Lusaka

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Gize, Charity
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The University of Zambia
The objective of this study was to examine access to media in Zambia: the special case of Persons Living With Perception Disability (PWPD) - the blind and deaf in Lusaka. The specific objectives of the study included to establish the depth and extent of media access for PWPD in Lusaka, to document the media channels available, to examine the obstacles hindering quality media access, and to find ways of making media more beneficial and accessible to PWPD. The study was a descriptive design which adopted a triangulation principle in which both the quantitative and qualitative techniques were used. 60 self-administered questionnaires were distributed to the deaf respondents with the help of sign language interpreters for the collection of quantitative data and 40 blind respondents were interviewed. 57 self- administered questionnaires were further distributed to Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation, Muvi Television Yatsani Radio, Radio Phoenix, Zambia Daily Mail, and Times of Zambia. The researcher further conducted two in-depth interviews with the Directors of the Association of Sign Language Interpreters of Zambia and, the Director and Publicity and Mobilisation Officer of Zambia Library, Cultural and Skills Centre for the Visually Impaired. The study revealed that PWPD used the media like any other citizen but they faced a lot of barriers because of inaccessible media channels due to their disability. For example, there was no Braille newspaper for the blind, very few programmes had sign language interpretation and there were no captions on television for the deaf. PWPD were rarely involved or featured in media programmes. The few times they were featured, the programmes were aired during less attractive times when most people were not listening to the radio or watching television. It was further discovered that media personnel were aware that media access for PWPD was unsatisfactory. They attributed this to lack of specialist and unclear national policies on media service to PWPD. Based on the findings, the study makes the following recommendations; firstly that public media institutions should make media more accessible to PWPD by introducing Braille newspapers and increasing the number of programmes with sign language interpretation. Secondly, that vii television media should introduce programmes with captions for the deaf. Thirdly, that the media should involve and feature PWPD in programmes and these programmes should be aired at conducive times. Fourthly, Government and organisations of PWPD should implement the disability policy with regards to information dissemination. Lastly, organisations dealing with PWPD should embark on Alternative Media like Braille newspapers, computers installed with assistive software like the Job Access With Speech (JAWS), televisions with in-built caption decoders and recorded texts. Further studies could be done on access to media for other minority groups like children or women living with disabilities in Zambia.
People with disabilities in mass media. , People with disabilities--Zambia--Social conditions. , Mass media--Zambia , Blind