Record 49 territories for free-to-air coverage in Africa of the Paralympic Games

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Monica Munga, Para-athletics, Zambia at the 2021 Para-athletics Grand Prix, image by James Varghese IPC

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has confirmed that it will provide free-to-air coverage of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games to 49 territories in sub-Saharan Africa as part of the Para Sport Against Stigma project of the AT2030 program, funded by UK Aid. This is an effort to elevate parasport and ensure the human rights of people with disabilities around the world. Globally, 1.2 billion people with disabilities are often unable to reach their full potential. At the heart of this situation is the stigma of disability, which limits full participation in society, employment and sport education.

For the first time, African viewers will watch the Opening and Closing Ceremonies broadcast live on August 24 and September 5, 2021. Daily 52-minute packages of Africa-centric content featuring the greatest Paralympic heroes and rising stars of the continent, will be provided in English, French and Portuguese. It is estimated that the broadcasts will reach over 250 million viewers in Africa.

TV Media Sport (TVMS) will produce this content and has also worked on behalf of the IPC to secure sub-Saharan broadcasters. The free-to-air broadcast will be available in the following 49 territories: Angola; Benign; Botswana; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cameroon; Green cap; Central African Republic; Chad; Comoros; Congolese; Democratic Republic of Congo; Djibouti; Equatorial Guinea; Eritrea; Eswatini (Ex Swaziland); Ethiopia; Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea Bissau; Ivory Coast; Kenya; Lesotho; Liberia; Madagascar; Malawi; Mali; Mauritius; Mozambique; Namibia; Niger; Nigeria; Rwanda; São Tomé; Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha; Senegal; Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Somalia; South Africa; South Sudan; Sudan; Tanzania; To go; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe.

The coverage is part of the AT2030 program funded by UK Aid. A £ 40million initiative to test ‘what works’ to improve access to assistive technology for those in need around the world – some 900 million people. AT2030’s Para Sport Against Stigma project is a four-year initiative implementing and exploring Parasport as a platform to address disability stigma across Africa. This innovative new approach is led by Loughborough University London, IPC and University of Malawi, Chancellor College with the support of global law firm Hogan Lovells, who helped negotiate licenses and offered support to National Paralympic Committees with requirements. procedures for athlete qualification.

Targeted research is underway in Malawi on media coverage of the Paralympic Games and local media practices and understandings regarding disability. This will inform future production and distribution decisions leading up to the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

IPC President Andrew Parsons said: “One of the IPC’s strategic goals is to increase the global audience for the Paralympic Games. The increase in broadcast availability is essential for this. I am delighted that since we announced this initiative in December of last year, we have more than doubled the number of African broadcasters increasing the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games from 24 to 49.

“For many reasons, these are our most important Games of all time. One of them is that for millions of people in Africa it will be the first time they see a Paralympic sport. Watching our athletes fight for medals and raise the bar in elite parasport will help normalize and challenge the stigma that is too often associated with disability.

Emmanuel Nii Tettey Oku is a para weightlifter competing for Ghana at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. He said, “During the Olympics, I saw some of my less athletic friends posting and sharing highlights and comments. on the Games. It wasn’t just about sport, but also the various discussions surrounding the Games, such as hot topics on Simone Biles. I thought it was interesting to see how trending topics and visibility can get people talking about things they would otherwise overlook.

“So for me broadcasting the Games and their highlights is an opportunity to make parasport trending enough for people to talk about and it will help fight the stigma of disability here in Ghana and Africa. I believe that broadcasting and coverage of the Games can help spread awareness of parasport and help para-athletes tell our stories and showcase our accomplishments.

Professor Jo Tacchi is Loughborough University’s principal investigator on this project. She said: “We are privileged to play such a critical role in researching the role of Paralympic broadcast in Africa in partnership with the University of Malawi. Over the next few weeks, we will be examining broadcast production, audience perceptions and community engagement around broadcasts in Malawian communities with the aim of informing planning for Paris 2024. The project is part of the commitment of Loughborough University to develop parasport and promote inclusion for people with disabilities in the UK and globally.

Vicki Austin, CEO of the Global Disability Innovation Hub, which leads the AT2030 project, added: “This project shows the power of partnership and how to turn a moment of inspiration into real impact. Although this idea started at the GDI Hub, working with Loughborough, IPC, TVMS, Hogan Lovells, University of Malawi and others, we were able to far exceed even our own ambitions, bringing the power of the Paralympic Games to millions more people.

“We know since London 2012 that hearts and minds can change because of the power of sport, and in the case of access to assistive technology – like hearing aids, communications devices and glasses – Overcoming stigma is essential to ensure each of the 1.2 billion people with disabilities around the world have access to the technical assistance they need and are able to realize their human rights enshrined in the UNCRPD. It is with huge thanks to UK Aid, who funded this important work, proving that together we can bring Tokyo 2020 to Africa in 2021 and create positive change for people with disabilities for many years to come.

TVMS President Hédi Hamel said: “We are delighted that the IPC has chosen TVMS to secure free-to-air streaming across the continent and to deliver live, daily highlights with editorial relevance for Africa. . All our distribution partners responded more than positively to being associated with the Para Sport against Stigma project. The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will benefit from unprecedented free exposure in Africa. “

Notes for Editors

Press release reference number: PR 21/169

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