Govt comes up with accessibility standards for hearing impaired on TV channels

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The government has developed new accessibility standards that will require nearly all TV channels to use subtitles or sign language to help people with hearing impairments understand programs. On Tuesday, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting published the draft standards and solicited feedback from stakeholders within 21 days.

The standards shared by the ministry mention that all programs except live and deferred live content / events such as sports: live news, events such as live music concerts, awards, live reality shows ether, etc .; content such as music shows, debates, scripted / unscripted reality shows, etc. and advertisements and teleshopping content ”will have to meet these standards.

Channels with an average audience share of less than 1% for all households during the year are also not subject to these standards.

The ministry noted that it is in the process of receiving notice of the Hearing Impaired Television Accessibility Standards under the Disability Rights Act 2016 through the Department for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) of the Ministry social justice. and Empowerment to make television content more inclusive for people with hearing impairments.

According to the standards, service providers “are required to provide subtitle / subtitle / sign language for certain television programs in order to ensure that hearing impaired persons can access such television programs.” However, service providers or broadcasters will have the right to select any one or more of the options from Closed Captioning, Closed Captioning, Open Captioning and / or Sign Language as they believe they are most appropriate for the program format and viewers’ requirements.

With regard to sign language translation, the ministry asked that channels and broadcasters “be encouraged to provide the translation in such a way that the viewer can see not only the hands, but, where applicable, the facial expression of the signer.”

According to the ministry, content creators will be responsible for creating content for these services and delivering it to relevant channels and broadcasters.


The ministry said it could make accessibility measures mandatory “through regulations, license conditions, accessibility targets and codes of good practice, and other relevant measures.”

In September 2017, the ministry set up a committee of experts and stakeholders to make TV viewing accessible to people with hearing impairments. The committee then created a subgroup that submitted its report in December 2018.



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