Kenya: Introduce Sign Language, TV Stations Urged

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The Government has no powers to compel media houses to introduce sign language. However, it has written to all media houses and the Media Owners Association, asking them to introduce sign language in their television news casts.

Information assistant minister Koigi wa Wamwere faced a deluge of points of order from MPs Justin Muturi (Siakago, Kanu) and Davies Nakitare (Saboti, Narc) who asked how the Government could not ensure people with disabilities followed events on television. Wamwere said media houses moved to court in 2004 after the enforcement of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 2003, and obtained a ruling prohibiting the Government from compelling them to introduce sign language. So far, he said, only KTN used sign language in one of its programmes.

The assistant minister urged MPs to pass the controversial Media Bill to give the Government teeth to compel media houses to implement sign language. Media houses are opposed to the Bill.

The Nation Nairobi, 14 June 2007