Policy & Legislation

Highlights of 2013: access in the air

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As many of our readers prepare to jet off on summer holidays, people will be curious about how their access needs will be accommodated by airlines. A number of developments this year are changing the way we travel as well as the enjoyment of our air travel experience. Most developments are taking place in the USA as a result of the Air Carrier Access Act, which impacts strongly on Australia and the rest of the world.

In March 2013, amendments to the Air Carrier Access Act were introduced to the US Senate, requiring domestic and foreign air carriers to ensure that all visually displayed entertainment is accessible, including by making available captioning and audio description for people who are Deaf, hearing impaired, blind, or vision impaired.


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Unscrambling caption quality control

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In 2014 Media Access Australia will release the world’s first review of how the quality of closed captions and subtitles for the Deaf and hearing impaired is controlled internationally. The white paper is sponsored by Red Bee Media and will explore how a more consistent approach to captioning will benefit both viewers and caption providers internationally.

The report will draw on a range of approaches from across the world, both in English and other languages and will examine how various countries such as the UK, USA and Australia ensure the accuracy of closed captions on broadcast television.


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New Zealand

New Zealand does not as yet have any legislation in place requiring broadcasters to provide captioning or audio description. Instead, these services are paid for by an independent broadcast funding agency, NZ On Air, which is in turn funded by the New Zealand government.


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New disability statistics show continuing need for access

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In 2012, there were 4.2 million Australians with a disability, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics survey results released yesterday. The results highlight the significance of access services for the Australian population.

The Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers shows that the percentage of Australians with a disability has remained steady since at 18.5 per cent since the survey was last conducted in 2009.


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