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GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
MINISTRY OF INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING
LOK SABHA
STARRED QUESTION NO: 175
ANSWERED ON:  30.07.2021
News in Sign Language
Achyutananda Samanta
Will the Minister of



INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING be pleased to state:-


(a) whether the Government has issued accessibility guidelines for private TV channels to broadcast news at least once a day in sign language and if so, the details thereof;

(b) whether the Government has specified any monitoring mechanism to ensure the implementation of these guidelines by private TV channels and if so, the details thereof; and

(c) the steps taken/proposed to be taken by the Government to ensure that information on important issues/official press conferences particularly on COVID19 developments are accessible to people with hearing and other disabilities through sign language?


ANSWER
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING; AND MINISTER OF YOUTH AFFAIRS AND SPORTS (SHRI ANURAG SINGH THAKUR)


(a) to (c) : A statement is laid on the Table of the House.

STATEMENT REFERRED TO IN REPLY TO PARTS (a) TO (c) OF THE LOK SABHA STARRED QUESTION NO. *175 FOR ANSWER ON 30.07.2021

(a): Yes Sir. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has formulated and issued “Accessibility Standards for Television Programmes for Hearing Impaired” on 11.09.2019 to facilitate accessibility to TV programmes and News for persons with hearing impairment.

The formulated standards, inter-alia, contain provisions to make the TV content, including news programmes, accessible by use of closed captioning, sign language interpretation and subtitling in a phased manner with graded targets. In respect of the accessible news, the formulated standards prescribe that the private News broadcasters may start with daily sign language news bulletins, effective 16.09.2019, with facilitation from Doordarshan which may provide its sign language news bulletin free of cost to the private news broadcasters till 31.12.2020, during which time private news broadcasters may develop their capacity to produce their sign language news bulletins. Keeping in view the unprecedented COVID situation, Doordarshan has agreed to extend the sharing of the feed till 31.12.2021 to give more time to the private broadcasters for making in-house arrangements.

(b): Yes Sir. The implementation of the accessibility standards by the private TV channels is being monitored by the Ministry and monthly reports are generated. The reports are also being updated in the MIS portal developed by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) for the purpose.

(c): Ministry of Information and Broadcasting disseminates information on Governance policies, programmes, initiatives and achievements through various media units like Press Information Bureau (PIB), Bureau of Outreach and Communication (BOC) and Prasar Bharati, the public broadcaster, through Doordarshan and All India Radio, utilizing various media vehicles like print, electronic media, social media, internet websites, outdoor publicity, live arts and interpersonal media. The above-said accessibility standards contain provisions for dissemination of information related to emergency services, public communications, public service messages, announcements etc. It is inter-alia prescribed that for the hearing impaired people, emergency information must be provided in formats accessible to such persons, namely open captioning/ subtitling/ Sign language interpretation in appropriate forms of communication to leverage mainstream communication channels.
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