Rashed Rababah: Jordan’s first visually impaired newscaster

Rashed Rababah
Rashed Rababah. (Photo: Twitter/X)
Rashed Rababah grabs your attention any time he is on television, he adds, “Yes, I am deprived of sight, but my vision still exists.” A 27-year-old from Irbid has been visually impaired since birth. Receiving his education at the Royal Academy for the Blind until the sixth grade, recalls his childhood, stating “I have loved acquiring skills and had a passionate interest in applied sciences.” However, his journey would take him elsewhere, studying media at Jadara University, he recalls his first love, radio. اضافة اعلان

He added “I worked as a radio presenter at a Jordanian radio station for over a year. My relationship with radio has been close since childhood, as it has been my friend. I remember the first news bulletin on the radio, and how I transformed from a listener to a news presenter. From the first bulletin, I felt a sense of pride and the ability to continue despite the difficulties."

From radio to news presenter, Rababah is the first television news presenter in Arabic Satellite who is visually impaired to read the news on Arabic TV. You can find him on Roya TV, what he calls a ray of hope, and a barrier in overcoming some of the negative responses he received from several other media institutions.

He emphasized, "I was confident that I would enter the field of media.” Despite the challenges in finding a job, especially for people with disabilities, he faced some opposition, particularly from his family, at the beginning of his university studies in media, as they believed he should choose an easier career path.

But his journey to a news presenter was not an easy one and challenges still arise. He added " I underwent performance evaluation exams and succeeded, becoming the first blind news presenter on an Arab satellite channel. Of course, this experience was a source of concern, fear, and happiness at the same time. I was afraid of people's reactions and how they would accept me on screen because they were not used to a blind person presenting the news."

Expressing his happiness at getting a job at Roya TV, he added, "I will never forget the moment I received the call informing me that I would become a news presenter. It was a pivotal day in my life. When I met them, I received approval and acceptance from the announcer committee. I did not undergo training because they found me qualified to present the news."

He emphasized that reading the news is not enough, and as a visually impaired person, he bears the responsibility to not just deliver the news, but understand its accuracy, and how to translate it into Arabic Braille. He said, “Sometimes I need to memorize the news to ensure no delay in its presentation.”

According to the Unified Arabic Braille Portal by Mada, about 150 million blind people around the world still use braille. While new technology has made it somewhat easier to listen to the language, it is still fundamental in ensuring that someone can learn how to spell words, learn punctuation, and visualize how the text is formatted on the page.

A message to the youth
Rababah, looking towards the future said, "I am still at the beginning of the road, and my message to all ambitious youth is that despite the difficult economic conditions and challenges, we cannot stay still or surrender. Instead, we must take the first step in everything and take risks. All challenges disappear if you believe in your message and yourself."

His love for his profession can be seen in his daily rituals, whether it is traveling to different parts of the Kingdom for work, and then taking his news bulletin which, he translates into Braille. While the process is not easy, he considers it as part of his preparedness to decrease some of the challenges.

But, in his leisurely time, he still goes back to his first love, radio. Enjoy the sounds of the radio, Rababah, perhaps nostalgic for the past, it’s a field of sound for him.

Regarding any further thoughts, he said “I am always ready and prepared to work... I do not focus on the challenges, such as transportation difficulties and frustration from people's comments like 'Stay away from the field of media; you cannot be accepted on radio or television.' I still face problems related to the environment being inaccessible to people with disabilities."

He said that while the image of blind people is changing worldwide and their capabilities, he knows he is not alone, brought in by the good company of many people who achieved incredible feats before him, from artists to writers, and everything in between.

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