§ Mr. Simon Hughes (Southwark and Bermondsey)
I am grateful for this opportunity to present a petition on behalf of my constituents in support of the campaign that many people have been mounting to seek to ensure that our broadcast media provide services for the deaf. It is signed by Mr. David Buxton of Brunswick quay, Redriff road, Surrey docks, Southwark and by more than 150 other constituents of mine.
The petition makes the three clear points made in many other petitions presented to the House. First, broadcasters are still not providing enough access to deaf television viewers, either by subtitles or by sign language. Secondly, more than 4 million viewers are affected—a significant number by any definition—and, thirdly, deaf viewers, as equal members of the viewing public, are entitled to equal access to television programmes.
I happen to know that the first signatory of the petition is himself deaf and therefore feels as strongly as the other signatories and I feel. The petitioners pray that ourHonourable House will ensure that legislation be passed placing an obligation on the 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.I hope that, in the context of statements made by the deputy Prime Minister and other members of the Government, we shall soon have an acceptable answer to such petitions.
§ To lie upon the Table.