Chandana, the Kannada television channel of India’s State-owned national broadcaster, Doordarshan, created history of sorts by getting three visually challenged persons to anchor news bulletins through the day on Sunday, 4 January 2009.
The heart-warming move was made to mark the bi-centenary of Louis Braille, the man who invented the script for the blind, according to a report in the Kannada daily Vijaya Karnataka.
Accordingly, the anchors Manjunath from Devanahalli, and Srinivasamurthy and Ashok from Chamarajanagar, in the south Indian state of Karnataka, read a part of the news from their Braille script during the six bulletins from 7 am to 9 pm, while a full-fledged anchor sat alongside.
The activities of Madhu Singhal of the non-governmental organisation Mithra Jyothi gave Doordarshan director Mahesh Joshi (in picture, newspaper tear) the brainwave.
“No TV news channel in the world has so far done this. Visually challenged people have a very sharp brain. We wanted them to show them that the world is with them. This will give them confidence,” Joshi was quoted by the paper as saying.
Manjunath who read the news said: “Society does not take note of us. Therefore such a platform is essential. We believe endeavours like these will spur people to empathise with us better.”
Chandana now plans to make this a monthly event.
For the record, the Bangalore newspaper, Deccan Herald, employs a visually challenged person on the news desk, L. Subramani, that is a signal lesson in corporate social responsibility not aimed at burnishing the brand-name.
Hat tip: D.P. Satish
Newspaper tear: courtesy Vijaya Karnataka
Photograph: courtesy Doordarshan