AND ETHICS OF THE PRESS
Dear Lord Justice Leveson
Re: Leveson inquiry response to the issue of the portrayal of disabled people in the press
I am writing to you as Chief Executive of Inclusion London – a pan London Deaf and disabled peoples organization- and on behalf of the undersigned to request clarification as to how your inquiry is responding to issues relating to the portrayal of disabled people by the press, and to request that time be given to enable disabled people to give oral evidence to the inquiry.
As detailed below in our email dated 8 May, and in our submission attached, we strongly believe this issue is of such importance to the estimated 12 million disabled people in this country that it demands a full examination by your inquiry.
Disabled people are being demonized by a press that persists in publishing inflammatory and wildly inaccurate and misleading reports about us, particularly in relation to disability benefit fraud.
This we believe is in turn fuelling a rise in disability hate crime and a general increase in hostility towards disabled people.
As can be seen in the submission copied below, we believe this issue is of relevance to all your modules and themes of inquiry.
In addition to module 1 issues, concerns over links between briefings by politicians, misuse of DWP statistics, and inflammatory headlines in the press regarding disabled people clearly fall under module 3.
Disabled people are amongst the most excluded and marginalized sections of our society and very rarely get any chance of ‘right to reply’ and redress.
Consequently,we believe it is all the more important that disabled people and their organizations should have the opportunity to give oral evidence, as has been possible for women’s groups, and would urge you to grant this.
Tracey Lazard: CEO Inclusion London
Katharine Quarmby: Journalist
John Pring: Disability News Service
Linda Burnip: Disabled People Against Cuts
Jaspal Dhani: CEO United Kingdom Disabled Peoples Council
Stephen Brookes: Coordinator – Disability Hate Crime Network
Tara Flood: CEO Alliance for Inclusive Education
Eleanor Lisney: Sisters of Frida
Sue Marsh, Diary of a Benefit Scrounger
Tony Heaton: Chief Executive Shape
Bill Scott CEO Inclusion Scotland
Dr Stephen M Carty MB, ChB, MRCGP, DRCOG, Member and Medical Adviser, Black Triangle Campaign.
John McArdle: Black Triangle, Anti-Defamation Campaign In Defence of Disability Rights
Steven Preece: Social Welfare Union
Maria Zedda: Wideaware.