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More Entertainment, Please!

More Entertainment, Please!

People with disabilities are still excluded from many media services and cannot join their friends or colleagues when they talk about television programmes. This is one of the outstanding results of a joint study carried out by the Hans-Bredow-Institut (Prof. Dr. Uwe Hasebrink / Dr. Sascha Hölig) and the TU Dortmund University (Jun.-Prof. Ingo Bosse), as commissioned by the Medienanstalten (DLM) [Media Authorities] and Aktion Mensch [a privately funded organisation that supports people with disabilities, along with disadvantaged adults, teenagers, and children]. Its extended version is now available online. The first findings of the large-scale, standardised survey were already debated at a panel at the “Münchener Medientage” on 26 October 2016. For the first time, this national study shows how intensively people with disabilities use media and what market potential barrier-free access to services have.

Barrier-free access plays a key role in the debate on inclusion. A significant aspect is the unhindered access to media services. Up until now, there has been no reliable data collection on how people with disabilities use media. This is changed by the Hans-Bredow-Institut and the Faculty of Rehabilitation Science at the TU Dortmund University who carried out a national study that includes all forms of impairments regarding the use of media: what media services are used by people with disabilities and which are especially appealing? Where are the biggest barriers when accessing media?

More about the Study

For people with disabilities, participation in society without media is barely feasible. But how do they use media, which barriers are they confronted with and what expectations do they have? To answer these questions, Prof. Dr. Uwe Hasebrink and Dr. Sascha Hölig of the Hans-Bredow-Institut, together with Jun.-Prof. Ingo Bosse of the Faculty of Rehabilitation Science at the TU Dortmund University, conducted a study on people with disabilities and their use of media and presented the findings at the conference “Medientage München” on 26 October 2016. The project was funded by the Medienanstalten (DLM) [Media Authorities] and Aktion Mensch [a privately funded organisation that supports people with disabilities, along with disadvantaged adults, teenagers, and children].

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities allocate media a key role in achieving an effective participation within society and a complete inclusion. Up until now, there has been no reliable data collection on how people with disabilities use media. Usually, the barrier-free access to services offered by the media is examined and analysed. The perspective of the user, however, has played a relatively limited role so far.

For the first time ever, this study analysed significant data regarding the media usage behaviour of people with disabilities, the motives and expectations when using media, as well as the barriers they face when accessing and using the media.

The study’s core areas are:
  • Firstly, determining the size and composition of groups that are of interest. Distinctions will be made between four groups which are limited in their use of media due to impairments and other existing restrictions: people with cognitive impairment, hearing impairment, visual impairment, and physical impairment.
  • Secondly, qualitative preliminary assessments will be conducted for each of the four subgroups in order to determine specific media-related needs and obstacles, as well as specific challenges when it comes to accessing the field and the interview technique. In addition to the secondary analysis of available data and studies, interviews will be conducted with researchers, as well as with association representatives and public authorities. Furthermore, group discussions with representatives of the tested subgroups should help determine the quality of access to services such as subtitles.
  • Thirdly, the way in which the aforementioned groups use media in general will be analysed, along with how they use television (i.e. motion pictures). It is necessary to develop specific scientific instruments for each of the subgroups, as preconditions and needs vary considerably.
The study’s research questions werde defined and worked on in close collaboration with experts with disabilities throughout the research process.

Research results and recommendations will help establish prospects for organising concrete steps towards addressing people with disabilities and facilitating their media use. The data can serve as a basis to further cater to the needs of people with disabilities as they use various forms of media. Thus, the findings will include recommendations for action concerning access to media services.

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