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2006 Commission media release: More readable television welcomed by HREOC

Commission Commission – General

Saturday, 4 March 2006


More readable television welcomed by HREOC

More than half of all television programs are now captioned.

The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission has welcomed advice from television broadcasters that they have boosted the number of captioned programs being screened and are on target to have 70% of all programs captioned by the end of 2007.

In 2003 the Commission granted ABC TV, SBS, and the Seven, Nine and Ten networks temporary exemptions from any possible liability under the Disability Discrimination Act for broadcasting programs without captions.

The exemptions were conditional on broadcasters increasing the levels of captioning, from around 40% in 2003, to 55% by the end of 2005, and then to 70% by the end of 2007.

"I am pleased to say that all of the broadcasters report they have met the first target and they are now working towards the next one," Human Rights Commissioner and acting Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes said today.

The figures for the ABC and the three commercial networks range between 57% and 62%. SBS which under the exemption is allowed to count its subtitled foreign language films as well as captioned English language programming reports 76% of programming captioned.

Commissioner Innes said that as well as opening up access for deaf and hearing impaired people, captions were increasingly popular for a wider audience in noisy locations - such as the average family lounge room.

Media enquiries: Janine MacDonald (02) 9284 9677 or 0407 660 235


updated 27 February 2006.