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May 6, 2004

Sign TV gets second chance

From: BBC News, UK - May 6, 2004

Geoff Adams-Spink
BBC News Online disability affairs reporter

The British Deaf Association is broadcasting its second day of signed programmes, following a successful first run in March.

Programmes will be broadcast on Open Access (channel 687) from 1530 BST to 2300 BST on Thursday and are available to viewers with a satellite receiver.

"The BDA has selected these original programmes to highlight what of missing from television schedules for deaf people," said BDA chief executive Jeff McWhinney.

Mr McWhinney thinks the majority of sign language programmes should be shown at peak-time rather than in the early hours of the morning.

"The BDA is working to improve access to signed television, and we see today as a step towards reminding others of our vision of a world where deaf sign language users enjoy the same rights, responsibilities, opportunities and quality of life as everyone."

The schedule will include several of the programmes from the first day of Sign TV together with some new factual offerings.

The line-up kicks off with children's programmes and will also include some features made by government departments on issues like benefits and pensions, as well as a new soap opera aimed at young people aged 11 to 16.

Deepa Shastri anchors the children's programmes Sign TV is one of a number of events being organised to mark Deaf Awareness Week, which runs until Sunday.

BSL cash boost

The BDA is one of 10 organisations to benefit from the £1.5m set aside by the government to promote British Sign Language.

"Recognition of BSL as a language in its own right was a historic step, but it was not the end," said Disability Minister Maria Eagle.

"I am confident that the projects we intend to fund will leave a legacy of improved access to learning for BSL tutors and increase the awareness of language."

Among the ideas that were awarded funding were online training materials, a family sign language curriculum and an interactive awareness-raising DVD.