brief to joint monitoring committee 20 june 2008
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Brief to Joint Monitoring Committee 20 June 2008

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Brief to Joint Monitoring Committee 20 June 2008. Contents. Introduction SABC strategy Overview Regulatory Framework SABC Strategy on Disability Overview of community for disabled Current approach to sign language and subtitling Challenges Future Considerations Conclusion.

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Presentation Transcript
  • Introduction
  • SABC strategy Overview
  • Regulatory Framework
  • SABC Strategy on Disability
  • Overview of community for disabled
  • Current approach to sign language and subtitling
  • Challenges
  • Future Considerations
  • Conclusion
  • The SABC welcomes the opportunity to brief the Joint Monitoring Committee about the use of sign language in its broadcasting services
  • SABC is South Africa’s public Broadcaster
  • It is reorganised into two operational divisions, public service and commercial service division as required by the Broadcasting Act of 1999, as amended
  • The public service division is comprised of fifteen radio stations and two full spectrum multilingual television channels
  • The commercial division is comprised of three radio stations, one licensed television channel and one satellite television service
SABC Vision
  • Corporate Goals
  • Organisational Values
    • Conversations & Partnerships
    • Building a Common Future
    • Restoring Human Dignity
  • Strategic Pillars
    • People
    • Operations
    • Funding
    • Technology
    • Governance

Total Citizen Empowerment

corporate goals


  • Ensure the SABC promotes democracy, non-racism, nation building, and empowerment through, news, current affairs and innovative programming that is informative, educational and entertainment in all official languages

2. Ensure the SABC produces compelling, professional and authoritative news, current affairs and other programming that tells the South African and African story accurately, fairly and in balanced way to all South Africans in line with its Editorial policies and regulations of ICASA

3. Ensure that the SABC reflects the World, in particular Africa, in line with its editorial policies and corporate goals, and plays a meaningful role in the supporting the African Renaissance and NEPAD

corporate goals1


  • Create an SABC that enjoys the support and respect of its viewers, listeners, shareholder as well as other stakeholders.


  • Create a financially sound corporation built on a sustainable business model, and ensure that its assets are used in an effective and efficient way. Establish a procurement policy that complies with the ICT Black Empowerment Charter, and promotes ownership and the participation of youth, women and disabled in the broadcasting industry


  • Make the SABC a place of preferred employment by attracting, retaining and nurturing talent in the Corporation and the country, while ensuring appropriate compliance with the Employment Equity
  • Monitor, evaluate and reward performance on the implementation of the SABC Corporate Goals and Editorial policies.
corporate goals2


7. Put in place an innovative technology platform and infrastructure that will enable the SABC to deliver on its mandate


8. Ensure full statutory compliance of the SABC with the Broadcasting Act, the Charter, Editorial policies and other relevant legislation. Put in place systems, policies and procedures, and systems to ensure improved business processes, achieve efficiencies and good governance of the Corporation.

Performance monitoring

9. Monitor, evaluate and reward performance on the implementation of the SABC Corporate Goals and Editorial policies.

regulatory framework
Regulatory Framework
  • The SABC has previously interfaced with ICASA in developing regulatory framework for broadcasters to provide for people with disabilities
  • The SABC is a signatory to the Code of Good Practice developed in 2006
  • The Code came through an extensive consultative and representative process that sought to encourage rather than prescribe measures to be taken by broadcasters in catering for people with disabilities
  • In November 2007 the code was revised when ICASA further published regulations providing a Code for the communications industry on people with disabilities as required by the Electronic Communications Act (ECA) of 2005.
  • The SABC’s licence conditions issued by ICASA prescribe that the television channels should provide sign language and that all services should cater for people with disabilities
  • The Code and the licence conditions requires that the SABC reports to ICASA annually on how it provides for people with disabilities
  • The SABC’s editorial policies also caters for people with disabilities
regulatory framework cont
Regulatory Framework - cont

Code on People with Disabilities issued Nov 2007 by ICASA

  • The Code provides for basic standards and options for improving

accessibility such as improving and/or increase subtitles and sign


  • Broadcasters must ensure that the broadcasting content does not stereotype people with disabilities by amongst others consulting with organisations that represent people with disabilities
  • Involve people with disabilities in the sourcing content ideas and in studios.
  • Broadcasters are required to report to ICASA annually on progress regarding implementation of the Code.
sabc strategy on disability
SABC Strategy on Disability

The SABC has developed a disability strategy aimed to address the following:

  • To use the SABC platforms to raise awareness and education of Sign Language which will:
    • Integrate and build the hearing impaired community as an integral part of the Global South African Village this reducing feelings of alienation
    • Inform, education, and target able bodied hearing population on the needs to the hearing impaired thus contributing to closing the divide between the two groups
  • Aim to provide services that are more accessible to people living with disabilities in line with the Corporation’s vision of Broadcasting for total citizen empowerment and to ensure the integration ofSABC employees with disabilities into the workplace in an equitable manner
  • To expose and redress the historic and systematic inequalities and injustices of groups and individuals, disadvantaged on the grounds of among others, disability
  • To eliminate disability discrimination in the service offering of the SABC through the creation of non-discriminative environment
strategy on disability cont
Strategy on Disability - Cont
  • In order to ensure the participation of people with disabilities, the strategy propose amongst others:
    • In house sensitisation workshops for able bodied staff; (the said workshops have already commenced)
    • Exploring the possibility Job Rotation for persons with disabilities
    • Using SABC multi-media platforms to raise awareness on challenges faced by persons with disabilities : Radio, Television, Mobile, Web, etc
      • Collaborate strategically with other media owners on joint initiatives
      • Collaborate strategically in the exploitation of other mediums [Magazine, Press, Billboard, In-House material)
    • Involving Organisations that work with people with disabilities at all levels
    • Adopt a holistic and integrated approach towards people with disabilities within the SABC
overview of disability community
Overview of disability community
  • It’s difficult to get reliable figures on the size of the disability community in South Africa.

People with hearing impaired

  • Statistics SA (2001) estimates that there are 313 585 profoundly Deaf people and approximately 1 237 264 extremely hard of hearing people in SA
  • DEAFSA put this figure at 3.5% of SA population

People with Sight impaired

  • Statistics SA estimates about 600 000 blind people (80% of whom live in rural areas)
  • It is further estimated that 40% of these people is blind and rest partially sighted
  • SANCB feels the figure is around 2.5 million
current approaches to subtitling and sign language
Current approaches to Subtitling and Sign language
  • Subtitling seems to be the best tool for increasing access to television.
  • Since the inception of SABC Content Enterprises, the amount of subtitled programmes has increased dramatically over the past 3 years across all 3 TV channels particularly the public service channels. On prime time in the last 3 years there has been an increase of around 50% of programmes with subtitles (mainly drama, entertainment and factual programme)
  • During this time, the SABC has managed to build a culture in which viewers have got used to subtitles as a means of accessing programmes for deaf people as well as viewers who speak different indigenous languages.
current approaches to subtitling and sign language1
Current approaches to Subtitling and Sign language
  • The SABC provides interlingual and intralingual subtitles.
    • Interlingual translation – the translation of dialogue from one language into another in order to make films and television programmes accessible to speakers of the target language; and
    • Intralingual translation, in which subtitles in the same language are added, mainly for use by Deaf and hard of hearing people. Additional information (such as speaker identification, sound effects) is used to enhance the experience for members of deaf people and hard of hearing community.
  • Currently there are no guidelines regarding subtitling.
current approaches cont
Current Approaches - Cont
  • Sign Language
  • The SABC channels broadcast events of national importance such as parliamentary events in South African Sign Language
  • Until recently television channels provided signage for news bulletins as an interim measure to the discussions held as described below:
    • There are ongoing discussions between the SABC’s News division and DEAFSA to improve on the quality of sign language interpretation broadcast during news
    • The exercise is amongst others intended to have personnel that is highly trained and understands the source language of the bulletins as well as South African Sign Language
  • South African Sign Language is mostly accessible to the educated and literate Deaf people – as a result some of the uneducated and illiterate Deaf people create their own colloquial language
  • Quality and standards
    • Some groups comprising of deaf people feel the quality of SASL is poor
    • The Broadcasting Industry needs agreed standards and practices
    • Need engagement with hearing impaired people – across different race groups
  • Skills and capacity to produce content
  • Most deaf people are currently educated in English within hearing impaired learning institutions and are unable to read subtitles in an African language
  • Partial subtitling is perceived as discriminating against Deaf viewers as it only subtitles the dialogue in African languages
  • ICASA does not currently credit subtitling like it does with other languages in terms of the license conditions and mandatory requirements
future considerations
Future Considerations
  • The SABC is currently exploring what the benefits of DTT would be for people with disabilities
    • In DTT subtitling will enable other languages in relevant genres and programmes
    • However a revised editorial policy needs to be established once DTT is enabled
    • DTT can offer more sign language and more “closed captioning” (on/off audience selection of subtitling options)
    • DTT offers the possibility of a separate audio track with some programmes
    • Hearing and visually impaired will be able to view options on the EGP (Electronic Programme Guide)
  • There is a consideration to extend subtitling to a wider range of genres e.g. documentaries
  • Possibility of working with Radio and TV Sport to improve sports commentaries for access by Blind, partially sighted and hearing impaired people
  • Possibility of subtitling at live events especially those of national importance e.g The State of the Nation Presidential address
future considerations cont
Future Considerations - cont
  • Help Produce guidelines for the broadcasting industry as there is none at the moment

Audio Description

  • The SABC considers the use of audio-visual description to assist the blind and visually impaired people
  • Audio description is :
    • a descriptive narration of key visual elements in a video or television.
    • allows Blind and visually impaired people to access content by listening to the audio
    • narrators typically describe actions, gestures, scene changes, and other visual information
    • may also carry descriptions of body language, facial expression, scenery, action, and costumes - anything that is important to conveying the plot of the story, event or image.
future considerations cont1
Future Considerations - cont
  • Educate able bodied viewers by exploiting other platforms like Radio on bridging the communication gap between them and impaired persons
  • Utilising platforms and seeking alternative approaches such as like late night Matric Revision to teach and educate any interested persons in Sign Language and communication with the deaf
  • Educate able bodied viewers and cater for impaired viewers by building where possible story lines and plots in certain local genres (e.g. Drama) that involve the lifestyle and positive refection of hearing and visually impaired persons
    • This can prove a challenge as the commissioning cycles are long (in some cases 2 years) however SABC can start building this into their editorial policies
    • Train the industry in the field of audio visual translation particularly in subtitling, audio description and South African Sign Language as there is currently a skills shortage.
future considerations cont2
Future Considerations - cont
  • SABC has observed that there is an interest in using African language subtitles and will explore the possibility. This will especially work in a DTT environment.
  • The SABC is concluding a research study that will assist the SABC on its audio visual translation (AVT) strategies for television with particular focus on subtitling, dubbing, SASL and Audio Description.
  • SABC is currently conducting an in-depth quantitative and qualitative language survey to :
    • To refresh the SABC language mandate
    • To update and refine language policies
    • To track previous language surveys

The survey includes all SA official and marginal languages including sign language

  • The SABC would like to thank the committee for the opportunity to share information
  • As guided by its vision for “Total Citizen Empowerment”, the SABC is committed to assist and putting resources for people with disabilities.
  • We hope that the advent of DTT will enhance the public broadcaster’s capacity to deliver to People with Disabilities