The first is the release of statistics from the 2011 Census.
This affirms the cultural diversity and continuum of Australia gradually moving away from its foundation anglo-saxon& christian profile . Commentators’ and no doubt bureaucrats will now explore this data, which also affirms the need for information to be provided in languages other than English. One hopes that they will also recognise that many of us from non-anglo cultures, though fluent English speakers, have a different cultural perspective.
However, those keen for any figures on people with a disability will be disappointed. Only limited information was collected. So far the only element of this released has been the increase to 11% of people
doing unpaid caring of a person with a disability.
The second event of last week, is of even greater significance and will impact on every Australian’s access to news. Both major Australian newspaper organisations announced significant re-structures,
downsizing of their print publications and the introduction of paywalls, ie pay for access to all but basic news information.
This trend has already been experienced in other countries, with a subsequent decline in access to ‘free’ media and information.
These changes are even more critical for people with a sensory/cognitive disability, from diverse cultures &/ with low
English literacy. Such audiences already have complex needs in receiving information and are more vulnerable than others, with today’s already fast changing forms of media and technology.
The key for communicators is to start to understand what inclusive communications is, take responsibility, integrate options and techniques into their core activity.
The Starting Point an Inclusive Communications Audit
The most practical way to start is by conducting an Inclusive Communications audit.
* Identify current activity that isn’t accessible, suitable for people from
diverse cultures &/with low English literacy.
* Clarify your audience profile, remembering that people with a
disability/ sensory limitation exist throughout all
* Re-examine your organisations Style Guide to ensure it is
* Establish the range of additional communications actions needed.
Some will be easy to implement, whilst others will need to be
prioritised and funded.
Frequently the benefits of Inclusive Communications are not realised. These include more commercial opportunities as a result of reaching a wider audience and the greater uptake of services.
Of course I’m biased as ComAbility offers services for both Inclusive Communications Audits and the preparation of Inclusive Style Guides.
Inclusive Communications News
On Monday 25 June the Australian Senate passed the new Broadcast Service Act, which includes provisions and quotas for captioning of TV. This includes free-to-air requirement of 100% captioning between 6am to midnight, which will come into force during the 2013-14 year! More Information from AHRC / Media Access Australia, ACCAN