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Improving media access for vision and hearing impaired people
Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy
Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate
Improving Media Access for Vision and Hearingâimpaired People
The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, today released the Media Access Review Final Report, as part of the Gillard Government’s work to improve access to electronic media for people with hearing and vision impairment.
The Government has considered the complex policy and regulatory issues in this area and developed a range of recommendations to address key concerns. The Report outlines 22 recommendations for action to improve access levels.
“Access to electronic media for people with vision and hearing impairment is an important issue that involves freeâtoâair and subscription television, DVDs, cinema, and the internet,” Senator Conroy said.
“The Government will ensure that meaningful improvements to media access for people with hearing and vision impairment can be achieved, while also ensuring actions taken are practical for broadcasters and content producers.
“I announce today, on the International Day of People with Disability, that the Government will move to immediately implement the Report’s recommendations, and call on industry and disability group stakeholders to similarly take action to implement recommendations that affect them.”
The Government will move to introduce legislation in 2011 to:
â¢ provide regulatory certainty by consolidating captioning requirements for both freeâtoâair
and subscription television broadcasters into the Broadcasting Services Act 1992;
â¢ raise captioning targets to provide a better outcome for people with disability; and
â¢ introduce requirements for caption quality.
Captioning targets to be consolidated into the BSA have been agreed to by freeâtoâair television broadcasters; targets to be incorporated for subscription television will be settled following further consultations with the subscription television sector, disability groups, the Australian Human Rights Commission, and other interested stakeholders.
Senator Conroy said the Government will also commission the ABC to conduct a technical trial of audio description in the second half of 2011, subject to funding.
“A further review of captioning and audio description on electronic media in 2013 will consider the effectiveness of action agreed in 2010 in light of transformational communications initiatives, such
as the introduction of the National Broadband Network and the switch to digital television,” Senator Conroy said.
“I note there have been substantial outcomes achieved already in the area of DVDs and cinema, and I commend the stakeholders involved.”
The Report’s recommendations are attached (Attachment A).
Further details about the Media Access Review Final Report are at www.dbcde.gov.au/television/television_captioning/media_access_review
The Department will provide braille copies of the report upon request.
For those who are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment please contact the Department through the National Relay Service:
â¢ TTY users phone 133 677 then ask for 02 6271 1000
â¢ Speak and Listen (speechâtoâspeech relay) users phone 1300 555 727 then ask for 02 6271
â¢ internet relay users connect to www.relayservice.com.au and then ask for 02 6271 1000
Date: 3 December 2010 Department Media Contact: 02 6271 1777