Thursday, August 20, 2009

Media should do more for hearing impaired

Source Link - Media should do more for hearing impaired

Closed captioning and sign language interpreters are needed to allow the more than 6,000 hearing-impaired people to effectively watch television.

Minister of Social Development Dr Amery Browne asked that local television stations incorporate closed captioning or sign language interpreters into broadcasts to facilitate the hearing-impaired and deaf members of society.

Speaking at the Access to Information for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired meeting yesterday at the Hilton Trinidad, St Ann's, Browne urged the media to do their part in improving the lives of a part of society that is left out of the loop of information.

"We take the ease of communication for granted, but not everyone is so fortunate," Browne said. He said the gap between the media and the hearing-impaired was not being serviced.

Pointing out the irony of using the same media vehicle to get this message to the public, Browne said the implementation of the National Policy was not an overnight process, and called on the private media houses to move faster than the Government policy.

"The media is a competitive industry, always trying to outdo each other to ensure the target audience is covered," Browne said, adding that barriers to important news information could have dire consequences for portions of society.

"The situation must, can and is going to be improved," Browne promised.

He applauded the launch of the new Trinidad and Tobago sign language dictionary and commended the local stations that already utilise a sign language interpreter during its newscast.