Subtitles or Sign Language mandatory for every channel: Ministry of Information and Broadcasting

In order to enhance the accessibility of television programs for the hearing impaired, Union Minister Shri Prakash Javadekar announced the implementation of Accessibility Standard for TV Programs for persons with hearing impairment. This will be done through the provision of captioning and Indian Sign Language.

Information and Broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar announced that Accessibility Standards for films for visually impaired through provision of narration facility in between dialogues are also under examination. Javadekar also announced that all news channels will carry a news bulletin with sign language interpretation at least once per day and all TV channels and service providers will run at least one program per week with subtitles or captioning.

Live news, live sports, live music shows, award shows, reality shows, live debates, and advertisements/ teleshopping content have been exempted. Also, TV Channels achieving an average audience share of all households over a 12 month period of less than 1% are excluded from the rule. This will be implemented from 16th September, 2019. The overall implementation of the Standards will be done in a phase wise manner in the next five years. The policy will be reviewed after two years.

Here is the Proposed 5 year plan with percentage of content required to have subtitles, captions or sign language.

The ministry said that the content creators and owners are responsible for creating the content for these services and delivering that content to the concerned Service Provider. While Service Providers are required to deliver closed captions where technically feasible and allow the viewers to choose when to use.

To help Private news channels, Doordarshan will provide its sign language news bulletin Free of cost till 31st December, 2O20, giving time to private news broadcasters for developing their own sign language News bulletin.

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