Training held on how to adapt Media Content to meet the needs of Blind and Visually Impaired persons and the Deaf and hard of hearing

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A training on ways and techniques to adapt media content to meet the needs of blind, visually impaired, deaf and hard of hearing people was held for Bosnia and Herzegovina media and people with disabilities at the premises of the HUB ‘Equal Access to All’ as part of the European Union funded project of the same name. Suzana Ivančić gave a talk on the techniques that HRT (Croatian TV) use to adapt content for people with disabilities, while Amer Sikira, an IT expert, demonstrated how WinCAPS software works in practice.

Bosnia and Herzegovina media representatives from RTVTK, RTV Bugojno, Federalna.ba, RTRS, BHRT and Balkan Discourse together with the public institution the Centre for Blind and Visually Impaired Children and Youth (CZSD) and the association ‘Novis’ agreed that progress in adapting media content can be achieved through technical interventions but that action must be taken to improve the legal framework. The percentage of custom content in Bosnia and Herzegovina is among the lowest in Europe and this statistic will have to improve if the country is to progress along its path toward the European Union.

In addition to the lack of content adapted for people with disabilities, Suzana pointed out the problem of the lack of staff in this area. “Blind and visually impaired people also encounter everyday obstacles when trying to interact with the media, especially when it comes to digital media. Therefore, it’s important that the media cooperate with them and engage them in the creation and production of content.”

Vehid Hajduković works on the adaptation, processing and printing of text in the Braille alphabet. Although this is not his primary occupation, he is a telephone operator by profession, he has a great interested in this category. “I think that the Hub is the right thing to happen and I'm glad that Bosnia and Herzegovina is moving toward Croatia and its example.”

Kristina Gadže from Balkan Discourse said, “This workshop really helped me to understand the creation of media content for people with disabilities. I think that more frequent education of journalists on this topic is required, because the problem, as it was said at the workshop, lies in understanding the person with disability who consumes the content. It's necessary to constantly communicate with them in order to introduce some changes and improve media content.”

The Communications Regulatory Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina has reached a quota of media content that must be adapted to the needs of people with disabilities. The project ‘Equal Access to All’ and the HUB for the adaptation of content will play an important role in educating the media as well as in educating blind, deaf, visually impaired and hard of hearing people in the use of current software.

The project and the HUB will help ensure better cooperation between the media and people who need adapted content. The HUB premises and equipment will be at the disposal of those who need to master the skills of producing custom content. The training will continue after the development of the educational modules. The goal is to include as many media and OSI as possible in the training.

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