I beg leave to present a petition on behalf of 450 of my constituents in Newcastle-under-Lyme. They protest that broadcasters are not providing complete access for deaf television viewers by means of subtitles or sign language. They also say that the more than 4 million deaf viewers are entitled to equal access to television programmes.
Wherefore your petitioners pray 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 sub-titles, sign language or other means and to reach complete coverage by a fixed date.
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.
I, too, like the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mrs. Golding), beg leave to present a petition that seeks to allow access for deaf people to the broadcasting of our proceedings and to broadcasting generally. It is signed by 253 of my constituents in Orkney and Shetland. It notes that broadcasters are not at the present time providing complete access for deaf television viewers, that there are at least 4 million viewers affected by this and that deaf viewers are equal citizens with the rest of us and deserve to be treated equally.
The petitioners pray in terms similar to those set out by the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme. They hope that we shall pass legislation that will oblige television channel operators to make their programmes more accessible to deaf people.