Hearing-impaired youth with the group The Voice of Silence have issued an open letter to Armenia’s National Commission on Television and Radio (NCTR) President Grigor Amalyan, expressing their concerns over a NCTR decision to cease broadcasting ALM television programs.
“ALM TV is the only one among the other dozen channels in the country that for years aired its news broadcasts simultanously with sign language. Therefore, from Jan. 20, after ALM TV ceases broadcasting, hard-of-hearing people in Armenia will be deprived of being informed of events in the country and the world in their mother tongue (sign language). Although various TV stations’ news programs are also accompanied by running text, they are not appropriate and accessible to us,” reads the letter.
Deaf and hearing-impaired youth asked the Commission not to ignore the right of hearing-impaired citizens to be informed and to take immediate measures in interpreting news programs for the deaf and hearing-impaired from Jan. 20. The group has also asked the Commission to note in its response those TV stations which have received broadcast licenses and which included in their competition packages programs (news, as well as those of another nature) accompanied by sign language and whether they foresee their broadcasting after Jan. 20.
“Otherwise, by ceasing ALM’s broadcasting, you are promoting the deaf community’s isolation from public affairs, violating RA citizens’ principle of equality,” concludes the letter.