Policy & Legislation

NZ Greens push for 100% captioning

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The New Zealand Green Party has released a new disability policy which calls for captioning targets of 100% to be phased in for the country’s main television channels.

Captioning (and audio description) in New Zealand is paid for by NZ On Air, a government broadcasting funding body, but there is no legislation that requires anything to be captioned, or any mechanism for captioning levels to automatically increase. Under the Greens policy, the Broadcasting Act and Telecommunication Act would be amended so that TV1 and TV2 move to 100% captioning by 2017, and TV3 by 2020. Targets for other broadcasters would be set on a case-by-case basis.


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Canadian committee releases live audio description guidelines

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A committee led by Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) and the Canadian Association of Broadcasters has released a set of logistical, technical and artistic guidelines for the audio description of live events.

Audio description for television is still mostly confined to pre-recorded programs, with scripts carefully prepared so that the descriptions do not overlap dialogue or other important audio information on the soundtrack. The audio description of live events, which must be performed spontaneously as a program goes to air, presents much greater challenges.


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Canada makes captioning of commercials and promos mandatory

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The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has made it a licence condition for all television commercials, sponsorship messages and promos to be closed captioned from 1 September.

Canada is the first country to make the captioning of commercials and promos compulsory, and is thus the first country to achieve what is in effect 100% captioning on TV broadcasts. While the voluntary captioning of commercials is common in Australia and many other countries, captioning of promos is very rare.


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Q&A: Improving inclusive and accessible design

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Media Access Australia spoke with Linda Leung, Associate Professor at the School of Software Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology at the University of Technology Sydney, ahead of her presentation on inclusive and accessible service design at the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA) conference in Melbourne.

The conference, being run at Swinburne University’s Hawthorn campus from 9-11 July, tackles a diverse range of issues in the media and communication space, including issues around disability and media access.


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Australia signs treaty to increase print access for blind and vision impaired

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On 23 June 2014, the Australian Government signed the ‘Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled’.

Last year, 51 countries signed the treaty, which will give blind and vision impaired people greater access to works in accessible formats like braille and audio. Currently, due to copyright restrictions, only between 1 and 7 percent of the world’s published books are made available in these formats.


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Red Bee Media releases caption quality report

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Red Bee Media Australia has released the first of a planned series of reports into the quality of its live captioning.

The report gives percentage scores for the accuracy of 21 news, sport and discussion programs which were captioned live. The scores were obtained using the NER Model developed by Pablo Romero Fresco of Roehampton University and Juan Martinez of the University of Barcelona.


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US communications regulator FCC seeks comment on tech accessibility

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The US communications regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has put out a call for industry and public comment on the accessibility of communications technologies.

The comment will help the FCC produce a report on the extent to which communication technologies are accessible, ongoing accessibility barriers of these technologies, as well as recordkeeping and enforcement of accessibility requirements.

The FCC is required to produce a report every two years on the level of industry compliance with the accessibility requirements of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act 2010 (CVAA).


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