The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has floated a draft of revised standards and suggested that television channels ensure they either carry captions or sign language to help the hearing impaired understand the programming. The channels with an average audience share of less than 1 per cent of all households would be exempted from the proposed standards. The government has asked for feedback from the stakeholders within 21 days concerning the new proposal to improve the accessibility standards.
The Ministry mentioned all programming, apart from live or deferred content; or events like sports, live news, live reality, music and award shows, advertisements and teleshopping content would have to adhere to the new standards, The Indian Express reported.
Under Process of Approval From Other Ministries
The Ministry further noted that it was under process to get "Accessibility Standards for Television Programmes for Hearing Impaired" notified under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, through the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment". The move was aimed to make the television content a more inclusive space for those with hearing disabilities.
Even though the service providers would have to provide subtitles, close captioning, or sign language across specified television programmes, the broadcasters would have the right to choose any option amongst the options mentioned earlier. The broadcasters would have the freedom to choose the option most suited to the programme's format being aired or the viewer's requirement.
Content Creators Responsible For Disable-Friendly Content
The Ministry also mentioned that content creators for these channels would be responsible for creating content and sending it ahead to the broadcasters. Furthermore, the Ministry also mentioned that it could make the accessibility standards compulsory through regulating, improvising license conditions, accessibility targets and codes of good practice, and other relevant measures.