Vlaamse Radio- en Televisieomroeporganisatie

The Vlaamse Radio- en Televisieomroeporganisatie (Flemish Radio and Television Broadcasting Organization), or VRT, is the national public-service broadcaster for the Flemish Region and Community of Belgium. It currently has four channels: Eén (the main channel, formerly known as VRT TV1), Canvas (the quality channel), Ketnet (the children’s channel) and Sporza (the sports channel).

VRT occupies a key position in the Belgian society, focusing on information, culture and education, both broadening and in-depth. VRT invests in independent and high-quality journalism to provide impartial, independent and reliable information and interpretations. It also encourages cultural participation, has an interest in the cultural diversity in Flemish society and offers a window on the world. VRT makes culture accessible to a wide audience in a way that broadens, deepens and stimulates the media users’ interest in culture and encourages them to participate in Flemish Society’s rich, cultural programmes. VRT particularly supports children’s and young people’s education and often engages in a broader cooperation with educational institutions, with a view to sharing actual content.

VRT focuses on important social issues and sensitizes and/or mobilizes people around these issues. Stimulating active citizenship and attention to science education, entrepreneurship and innovation are action points. The VRT regularly consults social actors with regard to this issue. The VRT has a place in Flanders’ collective memory and plays a significant part in education for all media users throughout the generations. It takes its educational role seriously throughout all its programmes: it wants to educate and inspire Flemish media users. To this end, it often engages in broader cooperation with educational institutions and stimulates active citizenship with a focus on social issues.

VRT is one of the world-leading public broadcasters in the area of accessibility for deaf and blind people. It provides access for blind users through audiodescription and for deaf sign language viewers through sign language. As for subtitling for the deaf and hard of hearing, according to its management contract, by 2020 VRT must provide subtitles for 90% of its online video programmes. From 2015, it has already been producing subtitles for 98.3% of all Dutch language programmes.

VRT is particularly innovative and pioneering in live subtitling, which has been the focus of many of its collaborative research projects with the University of Antwerp. VRT was the first European broadcaster to provide live subtitling through respeaking in 2001 and one of the first ones in the world to experiment with an antenna delay in some of their live programmes. This enables them to access the content before it is broadcast to the viewers, so that it can be subtitled without delay or errors. Crucially for ILSA, VRT is also, along with the BBC and VTM (associated partners in this project), one of the three broadcasters that is pioneering the use of interlingual live subtitling in the world. They currently have no training programme for this new type of provision and they hope to be able to use the ILSA course when it is ready, thus ensuring the implementation, dissemination and sustainability of the project’s results.



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