When you have a disability, it at once complicates and simplifies your job

Now, when there is a proposed change in the main law regulating the disability field in Armenia, our primary goal is the simplified introduction and the analysis of the bill. The draft law, which is unnecessarily complicated, needs to be clearly presented to the targeted audience.

With the draft law on “On the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Social Inclusion”, several systematic (at times undesirable) changes are to be expected. The bill was supposed to protect the rights of all people with disabilities, preventing discrimination in all spheres of life. However, that failed, as always.

Social changes (I generally avoid the term “reform”) are often presented through a Q&A. In order to introduce the sensitive provisions of the bill, a new series have been launched: “What to know about the draft bill: the essential and dangerous terms.” Those are usually the most-read items.

In addition to technical access, we also give importance to content. We don’t avoid the use of terms because they can become a useful resource for professionals interested in the field.

One of the problems we have at Disabilityinfo.am is presenting issues through telling human stories. For example, your want to write about service animals, who assist people with disabilities in various areas of their lives. Finding a service animal in Armenia can be hard even for non-governmental organizations, let alone people. So, you end up writing an article without featuring human stories because we don’t have people with service animals in Armenia.​

Finding specialists can also be challenging. There are some active NGOs and people, who can give interviews and press conferences on different themes every day. But it is virtually impossible to find a local specialist, who is knowledgeable about the issue of access to information and communication technologies. As a result, journalists often take upon that role themselves.

Writing about an issue that directly affects your life is challenging. When you have a disability, it at once complicates and simplifies your job. It simplifies your job because you have experience living with a disability. It also complicates your job because you often find yourself in situations when you become an activist.

Thoughts on the distinction between activism, journalism and advocacy journalism end up haunting you and can often paralyze you.

Our target audience includes but is not limited to people with disabilities. Nevertheless, we don’t know how many people with disabilities use the Internet. We have an estimate based on the high poverty rates.

Sometimes, you are left out from different processes because you don’t have a massive audience. For example, you cannot get accreditation from the National Assembly because you don’t have 2,000 views per day.

Mushegh Hovsepyan
Editor at Disabilityinfo.am

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