Coming soon: Sign language in newscasts?

Posted at 12/05/2012 10:08 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Persons with hearing disabilities will have more reason to rejoice once a new bill requiring sign language insets in news programs is signed into law.

The House of Representatives has approved on third reading House Bill 6709, which requires the use of Filipino sign-language inset for local news programs. The bill is a substitute of House Bills 4121, 1055 and 3838 authored by Reps. Teddy Casiño (Party-list, Bayan Muna), Rufus Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan De Oro City) and Maximo Rodriguez (Party-list, Abante Mindanao), and Raymond Palatino (Party-list, Kabataan), respectively.

Under the bill, all free-to-air television stations will be required to provide Filipino sign language insets, and if possible, closed caption or subtitles in at least two newscast programs a day and special programs covering events of national significance.

The measure will also grant the free-to-air television stations the option to provide for Filipino sign language insets in other programs such as those pertaining to cultural affairs, livelihood and those catering to children.

“Through the said law, television stations are encouraged to use subtitles or sign-language interpreters in their newscast programs," Casiño said.

A press statement from the House of Representatives said none of the major Metro Manila news programs are using subtitles or sign-language insets in their reports. Some regional stations are actually utilizing sign language insets with the help of non-government organizations.

The ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) used sign language inserts in the network's coverage of the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona earlier this year.