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Media reports on disability: a binational comparison of types and causes of disability as reported in major newspapers



Media reports on disability: a binational comparison of types and causes of disability as reported in major newspapers



Disability and Rehabilitation 21(9): 420-431



The study aimed to examine the way in which newspapers in two countries relate to problems of disability and people with disabilities. In particular, we looked at the way the extent, type and focus of newspaper articles in both countries varied with the type and cause of the disability under discussion. A content analysis of over 400 newspaper articles collected over a 3 month period in Canada and Israel was carried out. The findings show that physical disabilities received the most media attention and positive treatment in both countries, followed by psychiatric disabilities and then developmental disabilities. Likewise, disabilities stemming from congenital problems were treated more positively. The Canadian press was somewhat more progressive than the Israeli press at naming individuals with disability, using appropriate labelling and focusing on somewhat more progressive issues. On the other hand, people with developmental disabilities received more favourable treatment in the Israeli press. The press has an important role in reflecting and shaping public attitudes. In many ways media coverage reinforces negative attitudes towards people with disabilities, particularly those with psychiatric and developmental disabilities. While there were some differences between the two countries, overall the results suggest that these tendencies, which have been observed in other countries as well, are not limited by national boundaries.

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Accession: 046647031

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 10548078

DOI: 10.1080/096382899297404


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