The Broadcasting Services Amendment (Improved Access to Television Services) Bill 2012 was passed by Parliament on Monday, and implements changes that will increase media access for Deaf and hard of hearing Australians.
“For too long, Deaf people have missed out on vital information and media access because of sub-standard or non-existent captioning,” said Deaf Australia Executive Officer Karen Lloyd AM.
“Imagine watching an emergency like the Black Saturday bushfires or the Qld floods on a television news program - seeing the SES and Government spokespersons telling everyone how to protect themselves and their families - with no or jumbled subtitles. No way to know what they are saying, how to stay safe or where to evacuate to.
“Captioning is vital to make sure that Deaf people are not left behind - not only during times of emergency, but also to simply have the opportunity to enjoy the same access to news, current affairs and entertainment as other Australians.”
The Bill includes new quotas for free-to-air networks which will see captioning on primary channels rise to 100% of programs broadcast between 6am and midnight in 2013-2014.
Deaf Australia is Australia's peak advocacy organisation run by and for deaf people. It represents the views of Deaf people who use Auslan (Australian Sign Language). We represent and promote the advancement of human rights and equality for deaf people by collaborating with members and stakeholders, and influencing governments to implement the United Nations Conventions on human rights and disability.