I am pleased to present a petition signed by my constituents and those of my hon. Friends the Members for Ravensbourne (Sir J. Hunt), for Beckenham (Sir P. Goodhart) and for Orpington (Mr. Stanbrook), and others on behalf of the deaf and hard of hearing. It bears more than 1,200 signatures, and urges that the 4 million of our fellow citizens who have little or no hearing should be able to enjoy television programmes through a far greater provision of teletext subtitling and sign language accompanying the programmes.
The advent of television in the House emphasises the need for such facilities, and the forthcoming broadcasting Bill will give an opportunity to oblige the BBC and television companies to provide it. I fully support the petitioners' pleas.
To lie upon the Table.
I am pleased to present a petition from the Norfolk and Norwich deaf sports and social club concerning facilities on television for the deaf. The material allegations are that broadcasters are not providing complete access to deaf television viewers —for example, subtitles or sign language. At least 4 million viewers are affected.
Deaf viewers, as equal members of the general public, are entitled to equal access to television programmes. There are 741 signatories to the petition, and the prayer is as follows:
that your Honourable House will ensure that legislation be passed placing an obligation on Television channel operators to make their programmes more accessible to deaf people by using teletext subtitles, sign language or other means, and to reach complete coverage by a fixed date. And your petitioners, as in duty bound will ever pray.To lie upon the Table.