The 30th Workshop

July 31 , 2018
Theme: Study of the Paralympics and Broadcasting
Moderator: Motoaki Fujita, Nihon Fukushi Unviersity
Commentator: Kazunari Obuchi, Sasakawa Sports Foundation
Report: Kenjiro Nakayama, Parasapo

The Nippon Foundation Paralympic Support Center (Parasapo ) and NHK Broadcasting Culture Research Institute conducted a joint study with the objectives of clarifying the changes brought about in the awareness and lifestyles of people with disabilities by television coverage of the Pyeongchang Paralympic Games, and accumulating basic knowledge to consider forms of television broadcasting for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games and to identify issues that need to be worked on. The results of the survey, and issues and tasks that they showed related to Paralympic broadcasting, were discussed in the workshop.

The survey was conducted from March 20 to 26, 2018, after the end of the Pyeongchang Paralympic Games, targeting 1,750 people with disabilities and 500 able-bodied men and women registered as questionnaire monitors with GfK Japan, and collected their answers via the internet. As a result of the survey, it became clear that interest and viewing enthusiasm in the Pyeongchang Paralympic Games and expectations for the Tokyo Paralympic Games tended to be different depending on the type of disability. Specifically, in the survey as a whole, people with physical disabilities showed high interest, expectations, and positive attitudes towards watching the Paralympics, while people with developmental, intellectual, or mental disabilities tended to have relatively low interest, expectations and viewing enthusiasm with respect to the Paralympics.

These results suggest that the viewing trends and attitudes of people with disabilities require a more divided analysis in line with an individual context that starts with the type of disability, rather than grouping together viewing trends and attitudes and considering it to be representative of all people with disabilities. Furthermore, in addition to the type of disability, the results also suggested that a correlation could be seen between gaps in viewing enthusiasm and factors such as connection with others, outward orientation, and status of sports participation.

In the discussion, points and issues in Paralympic broadcasting suggested by the survey results were discussed. With respect to interest in the Paralympics rising mainly before the Games are held, the promotion strategy integrating the Olympic and Paralympic Games was evaluated, and the necessity of "heroes/heroines" as a measure to continue to raise interest throughout the Paralympic Games period was discussed. It was also pointed out that while creating "heroes/heroines" promoted interest, there was concern that Paralympians, as part of the sports elite, would be seen as a distant presence for people with disabilities. There was also additional discussion, with viewpoints from the media and sports associations, on topics such as the difficulty of increasing the amount of information in Paralympic media coverage, whether poor competition results could be reported critically, and how the media can convey the stunning qualities of the competitors as athletes.