This week the federal government passed legislation to boost free-to-air and subscription television for people with a hearing impairment.
The Broadcasting Services Amendment (Improved Access to Television Services) Bill 2012, will include measures to improve the readability, comprehensibility and accuracy of captioning and ensure better access to televised emergency warnings for the hearing impaired.
“Access to television is important to all members of our community, including those with a hearing impairment. These changes will help the more than five million Australians who are expected to be affected by hearing loss by 2020,” the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy said.
“Captioning helps people with a hearing impairment by providing the text version of speech and other sounds during television broadcasts.”
The Bill implements a number of recommendations from the Australian Government’s Media Access Review, tabled on 3 December 2010, and is the result of close consultation with the Disability Commissioner and the Australian Human Rights Commission.
New captioning requirements take effect from 1 July 2012.