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Mozambique: innovative media initiative allows vulnerable groups to access information

TV Surdo – broadcast on YouTube (Photo: screenshot)

TV Surdo, an initiative created in 2008, aims to produce content for people with hearing and visual impairments. The television channel produces its own content, broadcasting on three television stations based in Maputo, Mozambique's capital.

The productions are also available on a YouTube channel. According to the International Center of Journalists, TV Surdo emerged to make information more inclusive since most traditional television channels often inadvertently exclude people with disabilities.

In a post on its Facebook, TV Surdo noted that though there is law facilitating access to information, disabled people continue to be excluded:

Sete anos depois da aprovação da lei 34/2014 de Dezembro que regula o direito à informação, persistem desafios sobre acesso à informação para pessoas com deficiência.
Entretanto a TV Surdo continua a manter viva a esperança de deixar informadas todas as pessoas com deficiência.

Seven years after the approval of law 34/2014 of December, which regulates the right to information, challenges remain regarding access to information for people with disabilities.
Meanwhile TV Surdo continues to keep alive the hope of informing all people with disabilities.
#TVDeaf
#Inclusive Media

Mozambique has about 727,000 people with some type of disability, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics (INE) 2017 census. The country has more than 68,000 people with hearing impairment and challenges. There are also more than 58,000 people with visual impairments.

Television and radio are still the most common means of information

In Mozambique, the majority of the population does not have access to digital media. Only 21 percent of its more than 30 million inhabitants have internet access. In practical terms, television and radio have the greatest reach in the country.

For Mozambicans, radio is the most popular information channel. According to the Social Communication Institute (ICS), about 75 percent of the country's population gets news through community radio stations.

The lack of media inclusion in Mozambique was highlighted in a study by the Institute for Multiparty Democracy. The study mentions the lack of educational programs and opportunities on the radio, television, and the internet. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the education sector to explore these mediums as new forms of learning, educational content is still rare. 

Another challenge around television access is the ongoing process of changing the analog distribution system in Mozambique to digital.

Although it has already been postponed at least twice, Mozambique is supposed to switch from analog television to digital systems, which allow for better quality visual and audio television transmission — as well as the emergence of new media channels and products in the Mozambican market. The process is being implemented by the public company of Transport, Multiplication, and Transmission (TMT).

According to the Minister of Transport and Communications, Janfar Abdulai, the process of migration from analog to digital television is underway, as the first phase of switching off broadcasters was completed on September 30. However, this situation has worried users who fear it might be exclusive:

Analog Signal Shutdown and its effects

pic.twitter.com/f8RsvkvuAt

— Omardine Zacarias Omar Rajua (@OmarRajua) September 28, 2021

Society
Migration from analogue to digital signal: there is “confusion” in stores that sell decoders in Maputo#senami #falsacaodedocumentos #nampula #opaisonline #opais #gruposoicohttps://t.co/CIqriKKsgP pic.twitter.com/TXSs3GO90z

— O País Online (@opaisonline) September 23, 2021

In this context, TV Surdo stands out for its ability to reach a greater number of people, not being limited only and specifically to deaf people in digital media, but equally to anyone with any type of disability.

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