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PM’s speech: No sign language leaves disabled kids disappointed

TNN | Sep 6, 2014, 05.58 AM IST

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NEW DELHI: For the hearing impaired children it was a huge disappointment. There was no sign language interpretation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech on Teacher’s Day. The disability sector activists said it was wrong to cancel sign language interpretation when sign language interpreters had been ready to do simultaneous interpretation at the Doordarshan studio.

Doordarshan Director General (News) Archana Dutta when contacted confirmed that there were sign language interpreters at the studio and that they did do the interpretation of the speech. “The speech with sign language interpretation will be carried on DD National channel after the cricket match today and it will be re-telecast tomorrow morning. However, she ascribed no reason as to why it was decided to not to do a simultaneously interpretation when Modi was addressing lakhs of children across India who had been kept in school to hear his speech on the express instructions of the HRD Ministry. Dutta said that there had been no request for sign language interpretation.

“After accessible telecast being made available both for the swearing-in ceremony as well as the live telecast of the ceremony and for the independence day speech telecast, we felt confident that it had become part of standard policy for the telecast of all important events and occasions. If sign language interpreters had been sourced and they were at the studio ready to do the simultaneous interpretation, why was it called off? This decision to cancel sign language interpretation is disappointing and wrong in every way. Lakhs of deaf children would have felt cheated today. Accessible telecast is our right. If it has been done when the PM was addressing lakhs of children and teachers, think what a great message of inclusion it would have sent,” said Javed Abidi of Disability Rights Group. “Who will see the telecast done after the speech? What’s the point of a delayed telecast tomorrow,” asked Abidi

National Association for the Deaf and other disability rights groups had lobbied hard since the beginning of the year starting with the telecast of the Republic Day parade to have sign language interpretation for all important telecast as a standard policy as is done in most developed countries.

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