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Sierra Leone News: Hire sign language interpreters – Disability groups urge TV stations

As they continue their call for the implementation of the provisions in the Disability Act of 2011, disable organisations have on Wednesday 8 August 2018 called on television stations to hire sign language interpreters.
This call is in line with Section 38(1) of the Disability Act. The Section states: “Every television station shall provide a sign language inset or sub-titles in all newscasts and educational programmes and in all programmes covering events of national significance.”
According to Mawusi Dumbuya, the Outreach and Advocacy Officer of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, it is the responsibility of the media houses to hire sign language interpreters. He pointed out that there were only four television stations in the country and stressed her belief that there were more than four sign language interpreters in the country.
“The Act is clear. It did not say every program but issues of national concern”, Dumbuya stressed. He went on to say that the Commission will start going after media institutions to ensure that they hire sign language interpreters. In addition they want to see that media institutions together with other public institutions make their buildings disability friendly.
There are four registered television stations in the country; one state broadcaster and three private broadcasters. Heads of two of the private television stations said they have made plans to employ sign language interpreters. According to the Director of Operations at the African Young Voices, Samuel W. Bangura, they have already hired a sign language interpreter who will commence his duties next week.
Josephus Olu Mammah, General Manager Freetown Television, said they have plans to employ sign language interpreters by the start of September 2018.
The Director General of the State Broadcaster Joseph Kapuwa says they already have a dedicated sign language staff who appears on their major programs.
There was no response from the other private television station although some efforts were made to reach them.
By Edna Browne-Dauphine
Friday August 09, 2018.

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