Mock the Weak?

Diversity continues to be an issue in the mainstream media, but what can be done to improve the representation and portrayal of disabled people?

Back in March 2016, when the actor, writer and broadcaster Sir Lenny Henry made national headlines about the lack of diversity in the UK’s mainstream media—and, in particular, within public broadcaster the BBC—his focus was understandably very much on career opportunities for BAME (Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic) people working in the nation’s TV/radio studios, media production companies and newsrooms.

Yet this isn’t just about race. A few weeks after Sir Lenny’s comments, a House of Commons briefing paper, Diversity in Broadcasting, pointed out that: “While the BBC, ITV, Channels 4 and 5, and Sky now all have policy statements in place surrounding diversity within their organisations, with some having specific targets for on-screen representation and diversity amongst the workforce, other organisations remain critical of their efforts. Data suggests that representation of diverse and minority groups remains below national average in most categories.”

Disability is a prime example: in the last four years, the proportion of all BBC employees declaring a disability has…

Full article published in PosAbility magazine #February/March 2017.