[14/13] - "Xarabank Political Debates exclude Deaf Voters" (01/03/2013)

Media Release 1413

Further to the press release issued by the Deaf People Association with the title ‘Xarabank Political Debates exclude Deaf Voters’, the Broadcasting Authority feels that it has been unfairly drawn into the issue.

The Authority had already explained its position to the Deaf People Association that it cannot impose mandatory Maltese sign language interpretation in prime time programmes such as Xarabank. It is up to the broadcasting station concerned to provide this service.

Meanwhile, the Broadcasting Authority has taken the necessary steps to ensure that the political debates and press conferences organised in its scheme of political broadcasts have been complemented with Maltese sign language interpretation. This was the first time ever that such programmes were made available to viewers with a hearing impairment. The last three programmes in this scheme, including the final debate between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition will also be available with Maltese sign language interpretation.

To this effect, the Broadcasting Authority believes that it has fulfilled its obligations towards this cause. It is up to broadcasting stations to follow suit and implement such measures.

Mario Axiak

 1st March 2013

Head Research & Communications

 Ref 10/62/19/148