Handicapped people and women are part of that vulnerable category, from which the most complaints are received by the National Equal Opportunity Commissioner, but the biggest problem still remains, which being that the organization is still largely unknown, and that such complaints are possible, even through the Internet – said Tamara Vlaškalin, advisor of the Equal Opportunity Commissioner, on the opening of the Reachable Communication Forms conference in Novi Sad, which deals with the situation of minority media and handicapped lives. On the event held yesterday in the Europe College in the organization of Heror Media Pont, with the co-operation of minority media and the support of the City of Novi Sad, the advisor pointed out that, media often makes mistakes as well, when reporting on abuses, correct information by the accepted rules is not always provided – we are moving on a very delicate ground here. The OSCE’s handbook with the title Fight for Equality was published just for this purpose, that equality be achieved in every-day life and media as well – Vlaškalin pointed out.
On the event’s roundtable discussion, Márta Varjú, Editor in Chief of Magyar Szó, mentioned examples connected to the lives of handicapped people abroad.
The white flag at Barcelona airport comprises all physical and communicational opportunities, and poses an example to the entire World’s cities. She said that Magyar Szó gives special attention to the lives of handicapped and disabled, and tries to inform them as accurately as possible about the work of institutions for them. Our goal is to let people know that handicapped and disabled are as much part of society as everyone else is, their problems are everyone’s problems, and solutions should be found together. Psychologist, Tatjana Stojšić Petković, elaborated on Varjú’s example, noting that the white flag has a powerful symbol to the disabled: it is a symbol of home. She pointed out the problem that to this day a huge wall separates the lives of the non-handicapped and handicapped, the large majority does not realize what is means no to be able to have access to every-day services and commodities, which make life what it is. People lack empathy. We live in a world where some find the speakers on traffic lights irritating, while others do not know what the signs and modifications on the sidewalk mean for the blind, and so decorate them, leading those who use them either to a bench, or off the sidewalk and into a garden – the psychologist listed the negativities.
Handicapped and disabled are mostly regarded as those who are in need of medical help, while now the focus is totally on a different aspect, on the improvement of the living environment, on creating the conditions for it – said Marija Vrebalov advisor, who deals with handicap accessibility. There is progress in this field on the national level, the laws brought in 2011 and after are distinguishing the social category, and are not using discriminative health labels. 20% of the population lives with some kind of handicap, from them, 57% are dealing with various difficulties. We must reach the level when buildings are not adapted for handicapped, but are already constructed in a way to suit their needs as well – Vrebalov highlighted the right attitude through a good example.
Anđelka Ružin, secretary of the Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired of Vojvodina, pointed out the difficulty that the improving of the situation of the handicapped is not constant, a lot of times, people do not even know where to turn for help, the institutions which deal with handicap are not in contact with them. Dr. Mirjana Kovačević, Press Secretary of the European Capital of Culture of Novi Sad – 2021, agreed with the findings that there is a lot to do in order to achieve accessibility in the years to come and for this she also counts on the contribution of the excellent Novi Sad IT sector.
Jasna Negovanović shared the experiences of the 40-year-old library of blind and partially sighted people and Jadranka Raletić shared the views of the deaf and hard of hearing people. Áron Madarász, a sociologist and journalist, reported the connection between the minority media and people with disabilities in his report, in which he pointed out: minority press is more sensitive and more susceptible to the problems of other minority groups. Károly Király, the teacher of the Mihajlo Pupin vocational secondary school of electrical engineering, presented the results of the survey of the Magyar Szó and the Hlas ľudu Slovak Weekly website. The conference concluded that the first meeting on the interaction between the minority press and the group of people with disabilities is only the beginning and both groups are interested in closer cooperation and more accessible content for the future.