Ganderbal: The two-day orientation programme on “Media & Accessibility,” organised by the Department of Convergent Journalism (DCJ), Central University of Kashmir, (CUK) in association with Ali Yavar Jung National Institute of Speech and Hearing Disabilities (AYJNISHD), concluded at Tulmulla campus here Thursday.
Addressing the valediction, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Farooq Ahmad Shah, talked about protecting the rights of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) and said, “We should provide them with a level playing field. Once we do that, we’ll see PWDs, irrespective of their disabilities, will do wonders. We must do away with social inhibition, stereotyping, and marginalizing PWDs. We need to encourage and include them in society and decision-making.”
Registrar, Prof. M Afzal Zargar, congratulated the Department for conducting the event. “All of us are the creation of Allah (SWT), and none are superior to each other. We have to provide them (PWDs) unflinching support and opportunities to make them self-reliant and encourage them to fulfil their dreams and aspirations.” He said the scenario over the years has changed. “We are more equipped and aware now and should not look down upon them.”
Head DCJ Dr. Arif Nazir, said, ” I am hopeful that through the interaction and speeches, the participants are fully aware about the issues confronted by PWDs.”
Speaking on the theme, “Accessible Technology & Environment,” Dr. Gouri Shankar Patil highlighted issues of accessibility for PWDs with special reference to the hearing impaired, and the role media can play in highlighting these issues.
Talking about various tools that help in making media accessible, Dr. P.J. Mathew Martin said that tools are important for communicating with PWDs, especially in emergencies such as natural disasters. “During a disaster, PWDs are most affected. We need to convey information to them immediately. We can’t wait for interpreters. In such situations, we use software such as SiMAx, which can be used to portray sign language.”
In his speech, Arun Kalbage said, “Due to lack of awareness, PWDs are not able to avail the benefits of services and schemes offered by the Government. Therefore, services like Disability Information Line (DIL) provide information on major disability issues such as causes, diagnosis, prevention, intervention/ treatment, environment, and education are beneficial.”
Speaking on the theme, “Media Advocacy and Design for Accessibility,” Asst Prof. Dr. Nookaraju Bendukurthi, said “We need to employ PWDs in media because it’s important to tell stories about PWDs from the perspectives and experiences of PWDs.”
Former Head MERC, KU, Nasir Mirza, hoped that faculties in universities across Kashmir take interest in participating in such programmes.
Screening of the National Anthem of India in universal design and the movie Waenji Gaash-‘The light within,’ made by DCJ students under the supervision of Dr. Asif Khan was also held.
Sr. Asst Prof. Dr. John Babu Koyye, thanked the dignitaries for making the programme successful. Dr. Asif Khan proposed the vote of thanks.