Disgruntled members of Australia’s disability community are channelling their outrage at the closure of ABC’s Ramp Up website in July into a crowdfunding campaign to create a new and independent media outlet aimed at providing news and views about and by Australians with disabilities.
Dr George Taleporos, co-producer of the crowdfunding campaign wanted to bring attention to the silencing of the disability community that had resulted from the axing of ABC Ramp Up, after the Commonwealth ended special funding to the site, and the ABC decided to axe the site.
The former contributor to ABC Ramp Up, recently led a protest at the ABC studios that ended with protesters being escorted off the premises by police.
“Commentators such as Crikey writer Shakira Hussein have said that the of scrapping of Ramp Up looks like an attempt to suppress disability dissent at a crucial moment for the sector, as the nation embarks on the building of a National Disability Insurance Scheme, and following the abolition of the position of Disability Discrimination Commissioner,” Dr Taleporos wrote.
“The former commissioner, Graeme Innes has publicly lent his support to the campaign.”
Banking on a successful crowdfunding campaign, the new site will provide paid employment opportunities for people with disabilities by commissioning content and engaging members of the disability community as expert commentators on issues that matter most to them.
“We are determined to bring back to life this crucial advocacy tool for the disability community and for the wider community to hear our voices and our perspectives," said Rachel Croucher, co-producer of the crowdfunding campaign.
“The 1000+ strong ‘Save ABC Ramp Up’ Facebook group shows our community's commitment to fill the void left behind by the failure to renew funding to Ramp Up and its subsequent axing, and our team wants to harness that commitment and enthusiasm to build a new and independent media outlet for people with disabilities to provide commentary on issues that affect us.”
Croucher is hopeful the initiative will bring the voices of Australians with disabilities back from the wilderness by enabling them “to make our voices heard at a time when our voice needs to be as strong as ever.”
Crowdfunding allows many small donations to be collected towards a funding goal. You can contribute by visiting the site here.