People not Punchlines
Disability rights campaigner Nicky Clark (http://nickyclark.blogspot.com/) has launched a new campaign to get terms of abuse directed towards disabled people recognised as hate speech.
Nicky says, “Currently as the law stands, it is illegal to communicate in a manner which is threatening, abusive or insulting and intended to cause harm on grounds of race, religion or sexual orientation. Disability remains exempt from this list and disabled people are routinely harassed with no right of redress under the law.
"The language we use every day underpins the rise in targeted violence and abuse towards disabled people, all to often with devastating consequences.
"All to often this can have a devastating impact on the lives of disabled people and those who support them. Fiona Pilkington killed herself and her disabled daughter after the word 'retard' was used routinely against her and her family.
"Recently such behaviours have transferred from the streets to the television screen with comedians turning to disability as a source of humour. This can’t go unchecked any longer.
"The aim of my campaign is not to curb free speech but rather to highlight the growing trend in normalising hate speech in respect of disabled people. I am fighting for an end to this kind of verbal harassment, therefore I am calling on MPs to amend existing hate speech law to ensure that disabled people are rightfully protected by this vital legislation. “
For more information or to support this campaign, contact Nicky.
Listen to Nicky discussing the issue on Radio 5 Live (Scroll to 06:40)