• Sat. Jan 28th, 2023

Bill necessitating sign language interpreters for TV channels approved

Teacher of sign language says I love you with her hands. — Reuters
Teacher of sign language says “I love you” with her hands. — Reuters 

President Dr Arif Alvi Friday ratified the Access to the Media (Deaf and Dumb) Persons Act, 2022, necessitating sign language interpreters for television channels.

Regarding the matter, the President House tweeted that after six months of the commencement of the Act, the government shall not allow the broadcast of any news bulletin on the national broadcaster, state or privately-run electronic media, private television channels, cable TV or any other broadcast media without Pakistan sign language interpreters.

Furthermore, after one year, no picture programme — be it entertainment, advertisement, talk show, drama or film, or any public or private electronic media, private TV channel, cable TV or any other media — without a sign language interpreter will be allowed to be broadcast.

The bill was accepted unanimously in the Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting on June 1, 2022. 

It was moved by Senator Saleem Mandviwala, which cited the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities and Article 19A of the Constitution.

The article mandates that the state take measures to ensure that deaf and dumb people be provided access to media, as reasons for the need for the act. 

Along with this, the bill also stated that COVID-19 had “illustrated the critical need to continue working to secure this right in emergency situations and during humanitarian disasters”. 

The act comes into force immediately and shall extend to the entire country.

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