Broadcasters need to do more for the deaf and blind
- 27 Aug
David Blunkett, Labour's former home secretary, has said that broadcasters are failing deaf and blind people. This is due to subtitles not making sense and an reluctance to dub foreign programmes.
Blunkett told the Radio Times that broadcasters were failing to deal with the growing problem for the ageing within our population and focused more on youth culture.
He said: "Broadcasters talk a good deal about equality, but preaching is not enough. In an ageing population, people with hearing and sight impairments are becoming part of the mainstream.
"It's no longer about a minority: we're a major sector of the viewing public, and we have the same rights as everyone else who pays the licence fee.
"Today, the way TV executives worship the cult of youth seems to be an unstoppable fetish. It is the trendy, the metropolitan and ... the under-40s who determine what we view and what we listen to.
"But much of the spending power reflects an older age group. The ageing population wields a very powerful incentive: our financial muscle."
He added: "There is an increasing tendency for overseas material to be broadcast without being dubbed. I appreciate that many people don't like dubbed dialogue, but if you're blind it's invaluable - you can piece together the storylines simply by listening to what is said."
A spokesman for Ofcom said: "Viewers have made clear to us that they have concerns about the quality of subtitling. So we recently announced proposals to improve this, working with deaf and hearing impaired viewers and groups, as well as broadcasters. We expect to finalise our plans in the next few months."
Image source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1016396
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