Delivering the message of people with intellectual disabilities to the public since 1963

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Activities of the Republic Centre – PORAKA, NSIOM, MIM and MDIFirst activities within the project “Disability: a matter of perception”

The Media Diversity Institute from London, Macedonian Institute for Media and the National Council of Disability Organizations in Macedonia (NSIOM), and the Republic Centre for Support of Persons with Intellectual Disability – PORAKA as a coordinator on behalf of NSIOM, are cooperating in implementation of a project financed by the European Union.

“Disability: a matter of perception” is a project implemented by the Media Diversity Institute from London, in partnership with the Macedonian Institute for Media and the National Council of Disability Organizations in Macedonia, and financially supported by the European Union. The main goal is to strengthen visibility and to improve the public perception of persons with disability as a necessary precondition for their active participation in public life and for equal treatment in exercising their rights and freedoms. The activities rely on an innovative approach, making an overview of the visibility of persons with disability in media as a necessary precondition for their active participation in public life and equal treatment in exercising their rights and freedoms. The project’s design answers to the environment in which, the weakened role of media as protectors of public interest in Macedonia on one hand, and a difficult climate in which Citizens Organizations (CSOs) operate on the other, led to shrinking of media space for presenting needs od disadvantaged groups, and consequently to citizens’ misperceptions in recognizing existing discrimination.

The invisibility of persons with disability in media hampers their true participation in public life and full exercise of human rights and social inclusion. Therefore, the action is set as to provide solutions and ensure preconditions for reducing media invisibility of persons with disability, by achieving the following specific objectives:

- Increased effectiveness of CSOs of persons with disability by assuming assertive approach in communication with media;
- Improved understanding and inclusive journalism skills of media representatives;
- Established sustainable CSO-media cooperation mechanisms in support to participation and inclusion of persons with disability;
- Media invisibility of persons with disability placed higher on the policy-makers’ agendas.

In the past period, the project activities have been aimed towards organizing two three-days workshops for CSOs that represent the rights of persons with disability, and that are w3illing to improve their communication skills using online and traditional media.

“Get your message through!” is the title of the two three-days workshops, which were realized, and aimed CSOs representing the rights of persons with disability. The first workshop was organized in Skopje, and the second one in Ohrid. Two domestic and foreign trainers conveyed knowledge and skills to the participants in order for them to improve their communication skills using the online and traditional media.

Representatives of fourteen CSOs from the country and working with persons with disability, were introduced to media tools and techniques for improving visibility of their organizations, through practical approach, developing media campaign, as well as mentor support to all CSOs in further development and implementation of their ideas for media campaigns.

The first workshop started on 3 May, Freedom of the Media Day, which symbolically sends a message that the media should provide more space and visibility in order to hear the voice of marginalized and vulnerable groups, which is an important segment of the freedom of speech in a democratic society.