Ofcom reveals UK television’s spotless access record

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Wednesday, 3 August 2011 14:18pm

The UK's media and communications regulator, Ofcom, has not reported a breach of access requirements on UK television in over 15 months.

British television, including digital terrestrial, subscription and digital multichannels are required to meet specific captioning, sign language and audio description levels as part of their broadcast licence conditions.

Ofcom publishes a bi-monthly Broadcast Bulletin detailing any incidents or breaches of broadcast licence conditions, including requirements for television access services.

The last reported breach was in May 2010, when Box Television, a company running two music channels, was found to have significantly under-captioned its programming between 2007 and 2009 due to a technical fault. The matter was resolved when Box Television committed to captioning 70% of all programming in the future, far in excess of the stipulated 0% and 40% requirements of its two channels.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is currently limited in its ability to investigate captioning problems on Australian television. Following recommendations from the Media Access Review, ACMA is due to gain increased investigation and complaints handling powers to pursue captioning issues later this year. This will bring its powers more in to line with those of its British equivalent.

The UK is widely recognised as the world leader in the provision of television access services. Read our page on UK access regulation for more information.

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