Press Office

Wednesday 29 Oct 2014

Press Release

BBC News explores disability issues during Access All Areas week

During the week leading up to the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities, BBC News will explore disability issues and the lives of people with disabilities in the UK and around the world.

Under the theme Access All Areas, a range of topics related to disability issues will be covered across BBC News output, including TV, radio and online. There will also be coverage on BBC Radio 5 Live during the week.

The themed content will run from Monday 29 November until Friday 3 December, which is the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Kevin Bakhurst, Deputy Head of BBC Newsroom and Controller of BBC News Channel, says: "It's important the BBC reflects all aspects of life in the UK. We've been making progress in many areas reflecting the lives, the abilities and the challenges of people with disabilities, but this is still something we hope to build on.

"We have produced a week of strong coverage to challenge assumptions; hear the views and concerns of people with disabilities; tell some extraordinary stories; look at some of the changing attitudes towards people with disability; and reveal some areas where it is argued that attitudes need to be changed. We also look at the financial costs of living with disability - both for disabled people themselves but also to businesses and government.

"The guidance of some of our teams who have disabilities and have experience in this area has been crucial. I hope it will be engaging and thought-provoking and play a role in putting some of the issues we touch on more at the heart of discussion, debate and daily coverage."

The broad themes for the week are:

Changing Attitudes: 40 years since the first disability act, Peter White, the BBC's disability affairs specialist, looks through archives at how language and attitudes towards disabilities have changed and interviews the man who designed the first legislation, Alf Morris. A survey examines the shift in attitudes and BBC News explores what life is like for people living with disabilities around the world.

Employment: the BBC's political correspondent Gary O'Donoghue explores the issues relevant around employment and Geoff Adams-Spink, age and disability correspondent, looks at how many people with disabilities fall through the net on education and provision of benefits and services.

Sport: the BBC team looks at sports funding and ways to make sport accessible for children with disabilities. Newsnight's Jonathan Bell tells BBC News about how sport helped him when returning from his army service, and how it is used to support those coming back from Afghanistan with life changing injuries.

Technology: Rory Cellan-Jones, the BBC's technology correspondent, looks at how cutting edge technology is transforming lives for people with disabilities, and Gary O'Donoghue talks about the big and small changes in technology which have developed in his lifetime and transformed how he lives.

Invisible disability: BBC News explores less visible disabilities and the arts and culture surrounding disabled people, as well as their portrayal in the media. BBC Scotland correspondent James Cook finds out how a company in Scotland was created specifically to open up employment opportunities for people with autism.


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