'Not enough people with learning disabilities working in the media'|
LONDON, UK: A survey carried out on behalf of Mencap has found that the media believes there are not enough people with learning disabilities such as autism and Down's syndrome working in the industry.
Lloyd Page, the author of the survey, works for Channel Five's MacIntyre Investigates. Page found that 90 per cent of those questioned said representation in the press and on television of people with learning disabilities was not sufficient.
Seventy per cent could not name anyone such as Page, who has mild learning difficulties, in a positive role model on television or radio.
Donal MacIntyre said: "Lloyd is probably the most efficient researcher I could ever have. He is breaking down barriers all the time with anyone who comes into contact with him at the BBC and Channel Five."
Page hopes his research will encourage the media to employ more people with learning disabilities and make more programmes that they appreciate and relate to. "I hope that you will include people with a learning disability when you are writing, casting or interviewing for press, television and radio," he said.
Alison Walsh, Channel 4's editorial manager (disability), said broadcasters and production companies needed to seek out people with learning disabilities.
"There are thousands of people without disabilities who are knocking on doors and sending in CVs," she said. "Broadcasters and production companies need to make a specific effort to look beyond those non-disabled applicants."
Mencap has recently trained people with learning disabilities as media spokespeople, who are available to give interviews to the press.
(Source: UK Press Gazette, June 23, 2005)