A positive image of elderly and disabled persons in television programmes

Representation in electronic media of disabled and elderly persons successfully fulfilling social, family and professional roles serves to eliminate discriminatory stereotypes. Such activity forms part of the KRRiT Regulatory Strategy.
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The National Broadcasting Council has, for the second time, sent broadcasters whose programmes currently appear on digital terrestrial television a request for information on their methods of promoting a positive image of disabled persons in their broadcasting. Also, for the first time, a question regarding the representation of the elderly was raised.
The National Broadcasting Council's activity in this area is consistent with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as well as with the Long-Term Senior Policy Approach in Poland for 2014-2020.
Ten out of eleven broadcasters provided the requested information: Telewizja Polska (TVP1, TVP 2, TVP Info, TVP Regionalna, TVP Kultura, TVP Polonia, TVP Historia, TVP Rozrywka and TVP ABC), Telewizja Polsat (Polsat, Polsat Sport News, TV 4 and TV 6), TVN (TVN and TVN 7), Telewizja Puls (TV Puls, TV Puls 2), Stopklatka (Stopklatka TV), Stavka (TTV), Eska TV (Eska TV), Lemon Records (Polo TV), TV Spectrum (Fokus TV) and ATM Grupa (ATM Rozrywka TV).
KRRiT did not receive a reply from the Lux Veritatis Foundation, broadcaster of Telewizja Trwam.
Responses regarding promotion of a positive image of disabled persons were more substantive and concise than those from the previous year and were based on concrete examples (title, broadcast type and description, broadcast time, number of episodes). However, information regarding the promotion of a positive image of the elderly was, with the exception of data sent by TVP and Stavka, quite general in nature.
Both disabled persons and the elderly appear in television programmes as the main characters of intervention and aid broadcasts. It should be stressed, however, that broadcasters are attempting more and more often to depict their lives in a broader context, e.g. in the light of professional or social activity and through the use of different types of programming (e.g. news and current affairs programmes, series and soap operas, entertainment broadcasts, magazines, or documentary and feature films).
The best and most diverse programming offer in terms of promoting a positive image of disabled and elderly persons was presented by Telewizja Polska. Such persons appeared as the main characters of news and educational broadcasts, morning shows, reportage, documentary and feature films, series and social campaigns.
The subject of disabled and elderly persons also appeared sporadically in reality shows, for which KRRiT discourages the use of sensational or tabloid-style titles, as they lead to trivialization of the means of expression and distortion of any positive message.
KRRiT appreciates the efforts of broadcasters whose programming offer creates a positive image of disabled and elderly persons. It also notes the progress made in terms of the higher number and quality of broadcasts.
The subject of the representation of disabled and elderly persons in the media is and will be an area of interest to the National Broadcasting Council, in accordance with the objectives included in the Regulatory Strategy for 2014-2016. In addition, with the approval of non-governmental organizations, KRRiT plans in the future to conduct qualitative monitoring of broadcasts dedicated to issues concerning such persons.


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The National Broadcasting Council's Office

Skwer kard. S. Wyszyńskiego 9, 01-015 Warsaw, Poland
tel: ( 48 22) 597 3000, fax (48 22) 597 3180

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