Asianet News has news in sign language to honour International Day of Sign Language
Kerala has always been a torchbearer when it comes to inclusion. Be it education, employment or tourism, the state has shown the way to the rest of India when it comes to accessibility.
Now, there is one more benchmark set. Viewers of Malayalam channel Asianet News have been treated to a variation in their daily news bulletin for the last few days. There is an additional box with a sign language interpreter giving them the news in sign language.
Asianet News plans to continue with this until 27 September, as the International Day of Sign Language was celebrated on 23 September.
The idea was suggested to them by the National Institute of Speech and Hearing (NISH). This was a step towards creating an inclusive society, in partnership with the media.
The anchors presenting the sign news are faculty members of NISH> They come to the Asianet News studio at Thiruvananthapuram for the 8 AM, 2 PM and 4 PM bulletins. They have already been trained and given sessions on how to present the news.
This is the first time that our channel is trying something like this. Our reporters had to face a few challenges like reducing speed of reading out the news, waiting for the sign language interpreter to pick up the speed with reporters after every introduction and so on. There were also some terms used in news channels that are not part of daily usage so it was hard to interpret those. Anshad M, Chief Broadcast Journalist, Asianet News, Thiruvananthapuram.
The Asianet News team also believes that more channels should follow this to break barriers and create awareness about the beauty of sign language.
Zachariah Thomas, Headmaster of the prestigious Marthoma School for the Deaf at Kasargod feels the change towards inclusion has already begun.
"Our society has to think of more such ways of creating awareness about deaf people. Hats off to Asianet News and NISH for coming up with such an initiative."
Undoubtedly, Asianet News can be proud of their lovely venture to promote inclusion. Let us hope more private channels from across India follow suit.