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2009 Media Release: Commissioner looks forward to better media access

Commission Commission – General

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Commissioner looks forward to better media access

Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, today welcomed the release of a report on proposed approaches to improving access to TV, cinema, DVD and internet downloads for people with a disability, and encouraged people to provide their views on how we should move forward.

“This report outlines a number of proposed actions that Government is considering for improvement of media access for people with a disability and for aging Australians,” said Commissioner Innes.

The Access to Electronic Media for the Hearing and Vision Impaired: Approaches for Consideration report builds on an earlier discussion paper issued in 2007 which sought views on how to improve access to electronic media, particularly for people with a vision or hearing impairment.

The Australian Human Rights Commission has worked with the disability community, and the TV, internet, cinema and DVD industries for a number of years to improve the accessibility of electronic media.

This has included improving the availability of captions, which assist Deaf people and people with a hearing impairment, and more recently, audio description. Audio description provides audible background information about what is happening visually on a screen or TV in order to assist blind people to better understand the action.

“Though there have been many important improvements over the past few years, there are many areas where we clearly do not yet do as well as we should,” said Commissioner Innes. “I look forward to the finalisation of this investigation and moving on to the next stage, which is mapping out a timetable for real progress.”

The report was released by the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Conroy and Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities, Bill Shorten.

Commissioner Innes said he wanted to congratulate the Minister and Parliamentary Secretary on the release of this report.

The report can be found at www.dbcde.gov.au/mediaaccessdiscussionreport

For more information on the Commission’s work in the area of media access see www.humanrights.gov.au/disability_rights/captioning.htm

Media contact: Brinsley Marlay 02 9284 9656 or 0430 366 529