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Deaf campaigners back Ofcom’s call for more sign language on TV

Tuesday, May 26th 2015 by

Leading deaf charities have welcomed the news that TV broadcasters must increase the amount of sign-presented programming on their channels.

The responses come after telecoms regulator Ofcom revealed that the number of minutes of sign-presented programmes that must be shown on TV is rising from 30 to 75 minutes per month.

Broadcasters have the option of producing their own sign-presented content, or contributing to the British Sign Language Broadcasting Trust (BSLBT) to reach their targets.

The BSLBT produces original programmes in which communication is in sign language, rather than providing sign-presentation for programmes made for hearing audiences.

Dr Terry Riley, chairman of the British Deaf Association, said: “This is really incredible news.

“With these new requirements, we will now see more sign presented programmes, more secure funding opportunities for new deaf talent, and high quality production programmes.

“Our dream of a deaf channel becomes more and more a reality in the future. To ensure this, we will continue working with Ofcom and broadcasters to build on this success, providing more sign language programmes during the coming years.”

'Better sign-language programming'

Dr Riley added that BSLBT had given new deaf talent an important first step into film making – a start which they may not have received without the Trust.

"We have seen BSLBT, who have for these past few years commissioned sign-presented progress as part of the BSL Zone, winning so many deserved awards from all around the world."

Ruth Griffiths, executive chair of BSLBT, said: “This is great news. We congratulate the broadcasters and the deaf community for establishing BSLBT and supporting it over the last eight years.

“We now look forward to building on that success and providing more and better sign-language programming in the years to come.”

Cable.co.uk previously reported that Ofcom found news and entertainment programming to have “relatively high” levels of accuracy.

News subtitles were found to be 98.96% accurate, while entertainment shows attained 98.76% accurate subtitle rates.

In other good news for deaf viewers, a lower percentage of sampled programmes were deemed to have an unacceptably low quality of subtitling, with 23.1% failing to reach minimum standards.

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