The digital department of Israeli public broadcaster KAN has expanded its accessibility services, making the news broadcast more user-friendly for people with disabilities.

Starting on Monday, the 8 p.m. main edition has been made accessible to various populations through the KAN News YouTube channel, as well as on the KAN website and smartphone apps. Once it has been aired, it can be watched at any hour of the day.

The move is part of a partnership between KAN and the Ruderman Family Foundation, which promotes inclusion of people with disabilities in society. It was triggered by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the need to provide ongoing, trustworthy news updates to various populations in Israel.

The new partnership will see the KAN News YouTube channel broadcast the main news with adjustments for viewers with disabilities. The screen will be split between the anchor and a translator to sign language, making it easier for the hearing impaired to follow.

Additionally, there will be text simplification, with slower annunciation and simple language. This is being done to ensure that viewers with cognitive disabilities, as well as the elderly, new immigrants and other populations can understand. The text simplification will be implemented by Agudat Ami, a nongovernmental initiative that provides services for people with intellectual disabilities.

This latest move to increase accessibility to news and critical information for marginalized groups in Israel, follows initiatives from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office to reach the Arab and ultra-Orthodox sectors in recent weeks. For the Arab sector, the Health Ministry is providing updates in Arabic; for the ultra-Orthodox, the military’s Home Front Command is operating a municipal call center connecting residents with the Health Ministry.

The voluntary emergency response organization ZAKA has also dispatched volunteers to spread information on how to contain the virus in their communities.

“Especially during an emergency, all Israel’s citizens want to be updated about the continuous news and changing regulations,” said Elad Tene, deputy director responsible for KAN’s digital operation, in a statement. “The Public Broadcaster sees its mission as giving everyone access to its content, and the digital department is proud to use technology to make the main broadcast more accessible to various populations. Slow and simple is access.”

“Accessibility is always important—all the more so at times like these, when millions of Israelis are confined to their houses and watching their screens,” said Ruderman Family Foundation director Shira Ruderman. “Investing in news broadcasts, in media and content available to all parts of Israeli society should be obvious in Israel 2020.”

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