Deaf News: David Blunkett accuses broadcasters of failing deaf and blind viewers

Posted on August 27, 2013


We Deafies should tip a hat to former home secretary David Blunkett for raising the issue of mistakes in live subtitling, as well as the way blind people (like himself) are left out when programmes are broadcast in a foreign language, which identifies a problem Andy Palmer recently wrote about for an instalment of The Question – Should Deaf people pay a lower licence fee?

Here’s an extract from The Guardian’s report:

David Blunkett believes broadcasters are failing deaf and blind people by using garbled subtitles and by being reluctant to dub foreign programmes.

The MP and former Labour home secretary said TV executives were guilty of “worshipping the cult of youth”.

Blunkett, who was born blind, said deaf people were struggling with subtitles such as “the Arsenal player has been fouled by a zebra” (instead of referring to footballer Patrice Evra) and “looking for the prince of chemical and bionicle weapons” (principally chemical and biological weapons).

He also complained that blind people were left frustrated when foreign dramas and documentaries were not dubbed.

Blunkett told the Radio Times that broadcasters were failing to deal with a growing problem of an ageing population, many of whom suffered from blindness and deafness.

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.

Read the whole article here: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/aug/27/david-blunkett-tv-subtitles-and-dubbing

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