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Accessibility standards for the hearing impaired by MIB: A step towards the upliftment

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Tuesday has released accessibility standards mentioning, television channels to provide proper sign language or subtitles to help the hearing impaired.

And also they have asked for feedback within 21 days concerning the proposal.

According to the standards shared by the ministry, apart from events like sports, live news, music award shows, live or deferred content, debates, ads, teleshopping content, and also channels having <1% average audience share for all households over a year.

Channels are asked to serve the sign lingo in a manner that shows the hands as well as the expression of the singer.

The Ministry further acclaimed that it is in the process to get the “Accessibility Standards for Television Programmes for Hearing Impaired” notified under the Rights Of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, through the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities(DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

This particular was aimed to make the television content a more inclusive space for those with hearing disabilities.

Though according to the standards, service providers are needed to deliver sub-titles/closed captioning/sign language across specified television programs in order to ensure access by hearing-impaired to such television programs, still the broadcasters will have the freedom to adopt the option most suited to the program’s format whether that be from Closed Captioning, Subtitles, Open Captioning or Sign Language being aired.

For these services also the creators will be responsible for delivering of the content to the concerned channels.

The broadcasters have encouraged the channels to provide the content in a manner that the viewer can see where applicable the facial expression of the singer with hand movement.

Slowly and gradually steps are being taken to uplift the impaired section of the society with small steps, an example of it could be how the Mahindra group created a special seat feature of the XUV700 which makes the process easier for differently-abled persons.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has mentioned taking into consideration the compulsion of the accessibility standards through accessible targets, regulating, improvising license conditions, codes of good practice, and other significant features. 

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