Taking A cue from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Vision that subtitles its prime time content, the Union government has given its nod to subtitled daily news for the deaf on Doordarshan.
Earlier this month, the Prime Minister’s Office had given a go-ahead to running scroll or sub-titles on screen. However, a definite date is yet to be announced.
Till now, the only comprehensive accessible TV news for the deaf community was the weekly sign language news bulletin on DD.
While the BBC’s commitment to making the content 100 per cent deaf community friendly came as early as 1999, social activists say it is still not too late for the Indian government to wake up to the need to reach out to this neglected community.
“In other developed/progressive countries, sub-titling of television programming is usual. Even the ‘not so’ developed nations like Thailand or Saudi Arabia are reaching out to their deaf citizens. But in India, the awareness has been so low that our policy-makers did not even think of subtitling news as an option,” said Javed Abidi, honorary director, National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People.
“Since most of them depend on TV for the daily dose of world news, it is certainly a positive step,” he said.
The demand for sub-titling television programming was first raised by the National Association of the Deaf about two years ago, but the government did not respond. Only recently, when physically challenged community demanded subtitling of news as one of their ‘10 Big Ticket’ demands, the government took notice.