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Sign language and subtitles Public broadcaster to increase disabled-friendly content

The visually impaired rely on special devices to use the media. The archive picture shows a system presented at a fair in Bern back in 2001


The Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) has agreed to increase its offerings for a visually and hearing impaired audience.

The SBC, which includes public radio, television and online services, says it aims to subtitle 80% of its programmes by 2022, an increase of 30% compared with today’s visual output.

It also plans to provide 900 hours of audio-described content and 1,000 hours of sign language - more than doubling its special needs content.

The move is expected to cost CHF17 million ($17.7 million) annually and is above the legal minimum requirements, according to a statement published on Monday. It is in line with

SBC director-general Roger de Weck said the deal with seven organisations showed the willingness of the public broadcaster to include all members of society and let them take part as equal members in public life.

The SBC, which includes, faces a nationwide vote calling for the abolition of a system of mandatory licence fees which provide for 75% of its annual income. The remainder comes from commercial revenue and the sale of programming to other radio and TV broadcasters.

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