Bengaluru: About one percent of our population is hearing / speech impaired, which denies them accessibility to the Television, especially news channels where the audio elements are significant.
Asianet News collaborated with National Institute of Speech and Hearing (NISM) from where sign language specialists were brought in as anchors. As part of the sign language day on 23rd September, Sunday and for the week observed thereafter Asianet News has introduced sign language anchoring in selected Bulletins. From 23rd to 27th of September three bulletins during 8:00am, 2:00pm and 4:00pm, sign language specialists co-anchored the bulletins. These anchors handled the live bulletins without interruption and carried it effortlessly. Unlike the regular anchors, they didn’t have any teleprompter support and had to interpret it live.
The telecast with sign language news anchors went live on 23th September after altering a lot of graphical and visual patterns. Asianet decided to give up on the commercial pop-up’s which occupied a lot of space which was also revenue impact for the channel. However, when the program went live, it was highly appreciated by the viewers and civil society at large.
Frank P Thomas, Director and Group CFO said, “We wanted hearing and speech impaired citizens to experience our news and we approached National Institute of Speech and Hearing, which is an established institution based out of Aakulam, Thiruvananthapuram for hearing and speech impaired students while offering several higher-level courses for students. The sign language experts that they provided were flawless and carried out the anchoring with ease. This is a new experience for us and it was well accepted and appreciated by our viewers.”