D.N.I.S. News Network, India: N.C.P.E.D.P. has added another success story to its credit. Prime time news on Doordarshan will now be made more accessible to the hearing impaired people.
As the news reader reads the news, either a running scroll or sub-titles will appear at the bottom of the screen of the television set. This will be a completely new thing for India and in that sense, a historic first.
The decision to make Prime Time news accessible for hearing impaired people was taken at a meeting held in the Prime Minister’s Office (P.M.O.) in May.
N.C.P.E.D.P. Honorary Director, Javed Abidi expressed his happiness on learning about this development. In a statement, he said, “Until now, the only accessible T.V. news available to our deaf people was the weekly sign language news bulletin. The thirst for news amongst deaf was so high that in spite of the news being dated and about a week old, they would look forward to that weekly bulletin to be able to know the going-on in the Nation and across the World.”
Sub-titling of television programming is a very normal thing in developed countries. Even developing nations like Thailand or Saudi Arabia are doing it for their hearing impaired citizens.
“Unfortunately, in India, the awareness has been so low that our policy makers and decision makers did not even think of this, leave alone consider this as an option.” Abidi added.
The demand for sub-titling television programming was first raised by the National Association of the Deaf (N.A.D.) about two years ago.
“We are surely grateful to the P.M.O. for understanding our sentiments and for supporting our demand and for catalyzing the dialogue with the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting which has finally led to this decision,” said Abidi.
“For us, this is not the end of the road. On the contrary, it is the beginning of one. Yes, Prime Time news being made accessible to deaf people is a good and positive beginning. However, our aim is to ensure that the entire programming on television, at least as far as public broadcasters are concerned, is made accessible. We also aim to now extend this dialogue with the private sector. It is now incumbent upon all the private television channels to take necessary steps. The technology is there, and no, it is NOT rocket science! The cost is negligible. What is needed is awareness and sensitivity and a certain socio – political will on the part of the decision makers,” he added.