Test the Nation’s Eyesight

Remember that bit about how blind people couldn’t use the CBC Olympics Web site?

Well, they couldn’t follow Test the Nation, either. And actually, they complain about this every time that show comes around for another airing. A couple of people on the BlindCanadians mailing list sent letters along these lines:

I do have one major complaint concerning Sunday’s show.  I am blind.  The questions posed in Sunday’s broadcast were multiple-choice in nature.  The choices were displayed on the screen. While the host read some of the choices regarding some of the questions, not all the choices were read for each question….  I find this situation to be more than just a little annoying. The CBC is a crown corporation. I have to live with the knowledge that at least some of my tax dollars went to the production and airing of this program.   The solution is so simple. The host(s) can read each of the four choices associated with the question. No high-tech equipment required, nor was there the need to include any additional personnel. […]

I thank you for your attention to this unfortunate situation that excluded some viewers from participating with the audience. I am convinced CBC has better intentions than what this action may have been perceived.

A separate remark: “[The audience-relations person] did admit he is not familiar with the detail.  My spin on his response is that we, the folks who are visually impaired, are not on CBC’s radar screen.  Notice how he deflected to the great work done for the folks who are hard of hearing. The thing that galls me most is that we do not even rate notice….  We just don’t matter in the general scheme of things.”

CBC Television has to caption everything, but it has no requirement whatsoever to air audio description, even on shows that cannot be understood without it. Bet you didn’t know that. But! They didn’t even have to go to those lengths. They could indeed have just read out the clues. (Some questions, especially about spellings, would be tedious to read out loud, but with good acting or voicing skills, tedium could be minimized.)

Human-rights complaint, anyone?


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