The National Union of Journalists’ Disabled Members’ Council has today published a strongly-worded statement about media coverage of disabled people and disability issues.
“Disabled people are being demonised in the press as “work shy” and “scroungers” and as a result are facing hostility from the public and in some cases physical attacks,” they say.
We welcome their warning and hope journalists and media outlets will take note.
There are important stories to be told about benefit fraud and many other disability-related topics. But important stories must be accurate.
Full Fact’s factchecking over the past year has shown a number of cases where people confirmed by government assessments to be disabled have been portrayed as on the fiddle and we have put a great deal of work into getting some of those inaccurate claims corrected.
We have seen misleading coverage of the motability scheme, which helps disabled people get cars, special educational needs and repeatedly misleading coverage of benefits issues, to the extent that we raised this with the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee.
We have also heard anecdotally from disabled people experiencing problems and fear as a result of such coverage. This is part of the case we are making to the Leveson Inquiry about the importance of accuracy in the media.
This area is of course just one example of why our work is so important. If you would like to help, please donate.