Disability group calls for sign language interpretation of COVID-19 communications
A Civil Society Group, the Ghana Disability Forum wants President Nana Akufo-Addo’s next message on COVID-19 update and other communications on the subject to be translated in sign language for people with hearing impairment.
According to the group, they feel left out in the whole fight against the spread of COVID-19.
President Nana Akufo-Addo addressed the nation for the third time last Saturday with latest updates on the spread of the virus and measures to deal with the spread of the novel coronavirus in Ghana.
But the Chairman of the Ghana Disable Forum, Alexander Tetteh said it is important for their concerns to be addressed immediately to keep them informed.
“What difference does it make if the president has a sign language interpretation behind him that he is able to communicate directly to the people? This is access to information issue. He is a president for both abled and disabled and so the president must immediately start communicating to the disabled to save lives,” he said.
The forum has already petitioned the president on this issue.
Read the petition below:
URGENT NEED FOR SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETATION FOR COVID-19 INFORMATION BROADCAST
The Right of Access to Information is a fundamental human right for citizens as well as residents in many Countries. Ghana’s Constitution duly guarantees this right in Article 21(1)(f) and has found expression in the Right to Information Act, 2019 (Act 989), which received Presidential assent on 21st May, 2019 following the passage of the Bill by Parliament on 26th March, 2019.
It is disappointing to observe that in the midst of the global Coronavirus pandemic, information sharing in Ghana has begun without reaching the DEAF community, instead of being guided by the policy of leaving no one behind.
Although provision was made for Sign Language Interpretation at the Media Briefing held at the Ministry of Information Conference Room on Sunday 15th March, 2020, the Interpreter was for the most part out of sight of viewers as he was not properly positioned to perform his duties as expected. Instead of being positioned right next to any principal speaker behind the podium, in order to be visible at all times, that was not the case.
Furthermore, the President’s televised nationwide State of COVID-19 address in the night of Sunday 15 March, 2020 was regrettably delivered without provision for simultaneous sign language Interpretation thus cutting off a significant section of the community. This trend continued when the Ministry of Information’s subsequent Media Briefing had no Sign Language Interpretation whatsoever.
This obvious neglect must be addressed without delay. Every life matters, every life counts.
Moving forward, we petition the Ministry of Information to ensure that there is a mandatory Sign Language Interpretation of all major news bulletins on Television Stations or Channels in Ghana in order not to leave anyone behind.
Ghana Disability Forum