Saudi TV sign language keeps deaf audience in news loop

The interview with Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which featured simultaneous sign language interpretation, was broadcasted on MBC and Saudi state television last week. (Screengrab)
Updated 09 May 2017

Saudi TV sign language keeps deaf audience in news loop

JEDDAH: One of the things that stood out in the airing of Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s recent interview was the simultaneous sign language interpretation on the bottom-right corner of the TV screen.
Faiza Natto, founder and director of the Deaf Club for Women (DCW) in Jeddah, commended the move, as it kept deaf audiences up-to-date regarding the important topics discussed during the interview conducted by host Dawood Al-Shirian. The interview was broadcasted last week on MBC and the Saudi state television.
Yet she said they did not get to follow all of the interpretation in the first part of the interview, as the news ticker covered the interpreter at the beginning of the show.
“Interpreting news in sign language makes the deaf up-to-date with events in their surroundings whether at a political, cultural, social or religious level,” Natto said. “They are part of the society and their integration is an urgent demand.”
On Wednesday, Saudi television channels started introducing sign language to their main news bulletins so that the hearing-impaired can follow events around them, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
Ahmed Al-Fhieed, the sign-language interpreter featured during the Prince Mohammed interview, posted a video on Twitter saying — while signing — that Minister of Culture and Information Awwad Al-Awwad gave orders for the interview to be interpreted. “There is also another pleasant surprise. The main news bulletin at 9:30 p.m. will be interpreted the whole year long,” Al-Fhieed stated.
Natto said she has been pushing to spread sign language in several sectors in Saudi Arabia since she established the club.
“The deaf have complained that the (Saudi) TV does not present programs that are interpreted in sign language,” said Natto, adding that she was nominated to be in charge of sign language interpretation on TV yet she is fully committed to her work at the club.
Natto hopes to see sign language being introduced on all Saudi channels and taught in schools. She said the government has a major role in offering care to the deaf and providing them with the hearing aid equipment.
“There is also support to the Saudization project in the private sector which helped (in) recruiting 1,750 deaf people across the Kingdom,” she said.
The deaf community in Saudi Arabia exceeds 720,000 people, according to the latest available statistics from the Ministry of Economy and Planning, dating to 2010.
Natto said that there have been attempts by hearing-impaired people to reach out to the rest of the society to spread awareness of sign language.
“We have reached out to the government and private sectors throughout the previous years,” Natto said. “On April 2, we celebrated the Arab Deaf Week and we taught sign language to more than 290 people.”
Sign language varies from one country to another. The form that is used here is Arab sign language with some local variation.


Staged Egypt protests unmask pro-Muslim Brotherhood bias of Al-Jazeera, other channels

Updated 27 September 2020

Staged Egypt protests unmask pro-Muslim Brotherhood bias of Al-Jazeera, other channels

  • Al-Jazeera ignored required vetting process for the videos before using them

DUBAI: State-owned Al-Jazeera and other Qatari and Turkish-funded channels have been accused for their pro-Muslim Brotherhood bias after airing videos of staged protests in Egypt, ignoring the required vetting process for the materials before using them.

Al-Jazeera, Mekameleen, Al-Sharq and the Rassd news outlets are known for their hostile reporting on the present Egyptian government, Egypt Today reported, especially in the aftermath of Muslim Brotherhood being declared a terrorist organization and right after its leader Mohammed Morsi was ousted from power.

The staged protests were filmed by United Company for Media Services led by Tamer Morsy, an Egyptian businessman and media producer, and were sent on purpose to the channels to test the degree of their professionalism, the report said.

Al-Jazeera’s decision to publish the video, allegedly without checking the source or treating the video with skepticism and citing unknown sources, shocked TV presenters and public figures in Egypt, the report added.

A special episode on Extra News channel presented by Youm7 editor-in-chief Khaled Salah and TV presenter Youssef Al-Hosseini showed how the purported protest actions Giza’s Nazlet El-Semman village were filmed.

The special episode showed a number of young pseudo-protesters at the Media Production City in Giza receiving instructions from director, before cameras rolled and they started to chant against the Egyptian state as part of a scene.

TV presenter Amr Adib has also called on Al-Jazeera to publish an apology for publishing a fake video without verification, and referred the Qatari channel’s similar missteps.

Al-Jazeera earlier this month published an old video, taken in 2013, and claimed that dozens of people were protesting against President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. The fabricated video went viral on pro-Muslim Brotherhood trolls’ social media accounts.

Egypt Today in a separate report said that the Muslim Brotherhood are allegedly targeting children as new recruits to their group, with the leadership reviving the Young Lions committee specifically for the purpose.

“The Young Lions committee will outline a whole pedagogic program that targets children and teenagers at schools, clubs and youth centers to once again engrave extremist ideas in the minds of a generation in a secret fashion and without revealing their name,” the report said.