Council passes ordinance requiring TV broadcasters to put sign language inset in news
Asia-Pacific, December 21 2015
PHILIPPINES: People with hearing disabilities will not be left behind in times of emergencies and disasters, all television stations airing in Cebu City are now required to provide sign language in their local and national news programs.
The City Council, during its last regular session for the year last Dec. 16, passed the Sign Language Ordinance authored by Councilor Lea Japson.
“With the ever-changing times where communication is very important and to address the need of our members with disabilities of society, a person performing sign language should be incorporated during the airing of news,” Japson said.
Based on her newly-approved measure, all TV stations that broadcast their programs in the city are mandated to have an inset of a person interpreting the local and national news in sign language.
The inset should have a square frame with a plain dark-colored backdrop, sufficient lighting and should be located at the lower right of the television screen.
Citing findings of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific during the Asia-Pacific Meeting on Disability-Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan last year, Japson said persons-with-disabilities are two to four times more likely to die than the general population when disaster occurs.
This is because governments do not incorporate perspectives of persons with disabilities in policies and action plans for disaster risk reduction.
“Public service announcements are often issued in formats and language that are not accessible by persons with disabilities,” the councilor said.
All TV stations, according to the ordinance, are given 60 days or two months from the passage of the measure to comply with its provisions.
After the said period, TV stations who fail to comply will be meted with a penalty of P5,000 for every infraction committed.
“The same penalty will be imposed until full compliance,” it added.
The ordinance will take effect 15 days following its publication in a newspaper of general circulation.