Channel 4 this week announced that 2016, will be the broadcaster’s Year of Disability. Announced one year on from the launch of Channel 4’s 360° Diversity Charter, the Year of Disability includes major new commitments to increase representation of disabled people within the broadcasting industry – both on and off-screen.
Last year, Channel 4 launched its 360° Diversity Charter, in which it outlined 30 initiatives to raise diversity in the organisation – focusing on BAME, LGBT, disability, gender, and social mobility. The Year of Disability comes as part of the Charter, and the channel says it will focus on a different area of diversity in 2017 too.
Justin Tomlinson MP, the minister for disabled people, welcomed the announcement:
“Channel 4 programming has set the standard for disabled representation both on and off screen. By partnering with charities to raise awareness of specific issues and presenting believable disabled characters they have made a real difference. The ambitious goals in the 360 Degree Charter Report will enable them to build on this fantastic work. However, there is still a long way to go if we want television to truly reflect the situation of disabled people in Britain today. I am delighted that Channel 4 have made this Paralympic year their Year of Disability and would challenge the rest of the industry to follow their lead.”
The year of disability will coincide with Channel 4’s broadcast of the Rio Paralympics later this year.