People with disabilities had filed a lawsuit against major cinemas asking them to correct the discrimination of not providing certain services that allows them to watch movies. But the cinemas say such measures are difficult in reality. Court judges have visited a theater and personally experienced equipment that assists the blind and deaf at the movies.
Alongside subtitles, we hear a verbal explanation of the movie scene. This is a video description service for the blind. Meanwhile these are smart glasses for those with hearing disabilities. The glasses provide sign language and subtitles so the viewers can also understand Korean films, which tend to not have subtitles. Disabled people want cinemas to make these equipment available. But theaters say they are expensive and can be a hindrance to other audience members. But people with disabilities argue the glasses are for individual use and have no effect on other moviegoers. They also say the cost of smart glasses and devices is approximately 10,000 won per week per screen.
[Soundbite] PARK SEUNG-GYU(PLAINTIFF) : "I honestly don't understand why this is a cost burden to the firms reaping in huge profits each year."
In 2016, four individuals with visual and hearing impairments filed a lawsuit against major theater chains, CGV, Lotte and Megabox, demanding subtitle and video description services. The plaintiffs won the first trial. But the cinemas immediately appealed the ruling. With conflicting views from each side, judges have visited a movie theater to check out the equipment for themselves. Their visit lasted over 2 hours.
[Soundbite] GWAK NAM-HEE(VISUALLY IMPAIRED PERSON) : "I hope we can also win the second trial and freely go to the movies. That will be very nice."
What the judges experienced regarding the equipment's impact on the movie-going experience will be reflected in their upcoming ruling.