This month, two new papers have been published about media coverage of Paralympic sport. The first paper is, “Media Coverage of Summer Paralympic Games (1992-2008): A Case Study of the Czech Republic”, was written by Alice N. Tejkalová and Wadim Strielkowsko, and appears in this month’s edition of Mediterranean Journal of Social Science. The second paper was “The Use of Language and Media in Covering the Paralympic Games”, was written by Alice N. Tejkalová and published in the most recent edition of Journal of Language and Literature. Both papers focus on the media coverage in the Czech Republic.
“Media Coverage of Summer Paralympic Games (1992-2008): A Case Study of the Czech Republic” involved a qualitative content analysis of four Czech newspapers. It found that overall volume of coverage of Paralympic and disability sport declined from its peak in 2004 to 2008, with the authors suggesting that newspapers may have been looking to cover more profitable sports and because of changes in the overall Czech Paralympic landscape that was headed into a decline phase that was ultimately realized in the poor performance of the team at the 2012 London Games. Coverage in 2008 focused on the negatives in the governance of sport in the country, and these attitudes carried over into that cycle. The slight improvements that could be seen for the 2014 Winter Paralympics were largely a result of the relative interest of ice hockey in the country in general, as opposed to broader interest in Paralympic sport.
“The Use of Language and Media in Covering the Paralympic Games” was a qualitative analysis of Czech media coverage of Paralympic and disability sport, and found that at times, there was intolerance of social minorities. Given the importance of the media in critical communication around people with disabilities, the paper concludes that to prevent social exclusion, the media needs people who are more open to diversity and are willing to address their own prejudices. Some of the coverage of people involved in disability sport tends to be written in overly romantic ways, which can create backlash when people with disabilities behave outside these romanticized ideals. There is also a problem in that the majority, in this case people with out disabilities, control the discourse more than people who have disabilities.