MasterChef highlights online access gap

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Monday, 18 February 2013 09:14am

One of the contestants on Network Ten’s MasterChef: The Professionals, Bonny Porter, has a hearing impairment, but like other Deaf and hearing impaired Australians she is unable to watch the show with captions online.

In an article in B&T, deafness advocate and Deafness Forum member Michael Lockrey noted that Porter’s job at Sydney’s Rockpool Bar and Grill prevented her from watching the show as it goes to air. “While Bonny and her hearing loss have been portrayed in a very positive manner on the show, it is ironic that she and other people with deafness are being discriminated against in this manner,” said Lockrey.

With increasing numbers of people watching TV via the internet, the lack of captioning on online video players is now a major concern for the Deaf and hearing impaired. While ABC and SBS now provide significant amounts of captioning on their catch-up services, Seven, Nine, Ten and the other commercial broadcasters do not.

“The basic problem is that there is no legislation here covering online captioning, as there now is in the United States, so the commercial networks have been slow to implement it,” said Chris Mikul, Project Manager at Media Access Australia. “Ten’s online media player is not yet enabled for closed captions that you can turn on an off, but there is a temporary solution they could put in place – putting up a second version of each episode of MasterChef with open captions which everyone could watch.”

For more information, see our Catch-up TV section.     

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