The Sunday afternoon news on Doordarshan has a unique feature — an inset screen on the side that shows an interpreter reading the news in sign language.
Hoping to get the media to adopt such disabled-friendly practices, Ali Yavar Jung National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped has tied up with the University of Mumbai to introduce a post graduate diploma course in Media and Disability Communication. “Currently, the communication aimed at differently-abled people is quite poor,” said Mangesh Karandikar, head of the varsity’s Department of Journalism and Communication.
The one-year course will have modules on creating programmes and websites accessible to differently-abled people, subtitling and captioning, acceptable terminology and Indian Sign Language. “There are at least 40 news channels in the country (including regional) that are looking for Indian Sign Language interpreters,” said Mathew Martin, course coordinator for the diploma programme.
In 2009, India signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which called for increased access to information for differently-abled people.
“I hope the course will help journalists understand the problems of people with disabilities,” said Sujit Sahasrabudhe, a sign language instructor for deaf adults at AYJNIHH.