News

‘Historic Win’ for Deaf Charity As White House Ordered To Provide ASL Interpreters For Coronavirus Livestreams

The injunction, made by a federal district court on Wednesday, will come into effect on 1 October.

The news follows a ruling earlier this month where the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) successfully sued the White House for failing to provide an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter for its coronavirus briefings.

The latest order from the court will require the White House to provide interpreters on its livestream for all coronavirus briefings from President Trump, Vice President Pence and the Press Secretary.

Responding to the news, NAD CEO Howard A. Rosenblum said: “Sign language and accurate captioning are both essential and crucial to ensuring all deaf and hard of hearing people are well informed and are able to make better decisions on how to stay safe from the pandemic.

“The judge’s order sets a great precedent to achieve this goal of full accessibility.”

The order has been described as a “historic win” by the charity, with 1 October being the first time a US President has provided live ASL interpretation for any televised press conference.

Attorney Ian Hoffman added: “For too long, the White House has illegally shut deaf Americans out of its public briefings on the coronavirus pandemic. On October 1, that will change.

“Because of today’s order, all deaf Americans will be able to see and understand all White House coronavirus press briefings in real time.”

Alongside the order requiring an ASL interpreter to be visible on the White House’s official livestream, it also requires them to make the feed available to TV networks so that the interpreter is visible in their broadcasts.

Photo: The White House/Flickr.

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