On Friday (16), Channel 4, a British broadcaster that is a reference in coverage of the Paralympics around the world, released Super Human, a film from the Tokyo 2020 campaign. The ad explores the sacrifices made by Paralympic athletes to pursue their dreams in order to be honored as heroes.
a Movie, of three minutes, a version of “So You Want to Be a Boxer” by Bugsy Malone, performed by British artist Guy Prince, on the soundtrack.
Created by Scott Taylor and Andy Shrobsall and directed by Bradford Young, the ad is the first black director to be nominated for an Academy Award, and also features blind photographer Ian Trini, who is responsible for behind-the-scenes footage and photos of the athletes.
To create the film, the four creative agency collaborated with the Paralympic athletes themselves, the British Paralympic Association (BPA), the International Paralympic Committee and several organizations that work with people with disabilities.
Reference in Paralympic coverage
The first campaign by Chanel 4, in 2012, showed that athletes take advantage of their “flaws” and associate them with real superheroes. In 2016, the emotional theatrical network launched Yes, I Can (Yes, I Can), in which athletes from the British delegation accompany a troupe of 16 musicians with some kind of disability.
Over the years, the station has become a reference in covering Paralympic sports around the world. Its importance goes beyond the campaigns it promotes, it also sets an example when you hire dozens of professionals with disabilities. The team that will cover Tokyo will include more than 70% of people with disabilities.
It doesn’t stop there. The positive results of coverage are also reflected in the customs and culture of the British people. Evidence for this is the data indicated in the surveys.
A survey conducted by BDRC Continental and YouGov for Channel 4 shortly after the 2012 Paralympics analyzing public perceptions of disability and Paralympic sport in the UK found that two-thirds (65%) of viewers felt coverage of the event was positive. Impact on people with disabilities. According to the survey, 82% of adults agreed that athletes with disabilities are as talented as non-disabled people. This perception rose to 91% among those who watched Channel 4’s coverage of the Paralympics.
The survey also indicated that 64% of respondents agree that the Paralympics are as good as the Olympics. Among those who followed the broadcaster’s coverage of the event, this number reached 79%.
Channel 4’s coverage of the 2016 Paralympic Games was watched by nearly half of the UK population. The survey also found that the campaign changed attitudes: 74% of people felt more comfortable discussing a disability after viewing it, and 59% said it improved their perception of people with disabilities.
For those of us who work daily with actions targeting people with disabilities and who struggle to integrate this layer of society, this is an example to follow. No acting without the real actor. This is why broadcasters in Brazil also need to hire more people with disabilities, such as reporters and in all places.
Social change does not happen overnight. This is definitely the way for broadcasters all over the world. How to talk about people with disabilities, deal with relevant topics, and everyday problems without getting around them. By the way, Channel 4 itself employs professionals with disabilities, but also listens to Paralympic athletes for their campaigns and programs.
Sounds like a far-fetched dream to have something like this in Brazil. But this is a necessary good and a path of no return when it comes to equality and recognition. Many telecom companies still claim that they cannot invest in adaptations to receive persons with disabilities in their network.
Unfortunately, spaces in newspapers, radio, websites and magazines are still undemocratic. The inclusion of professionals with disabilities in these spaces depends not only on them, but on the previous steps. Problems in educating people with disabilities, adapting journalism universities to receive students with disabilities, and, finally, opening companies for the equal employment of these people.
Other than that, we have all the other routine issues these guys have to prove that they have the skills and voice of their own to take places. We already have an example. We can follow in the footsteps of Channel 4 and make journalism more inclusive.
*This text was written by Jesline Hess, Journalist, MA in Communication and Multimedia, Communications and Digital Marketing Consultant, Former Communications Coordinator for the CPB (2003/2004), and Former Communications Director of the Brazilian Sports Association of the Blind (2001/2002), who covered the Games Sydney Paralympic Games and coordinated coverage of the Athens Games.