Minister ‘not unsympathetic’ to AD on TV

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Tuesday, 23 August 2016 11:35am

Appearing on the ABC’s Q&A program on 22 August, Communications Minister Mitch Fifield gave a positive response to a video question about Audio Descriptions (AD) on TV for people who are blind or vision-impaired. He reminded the audience that as the former Minister for Disability, he was familiar with the AD trial conducted by the ABC. It was something that, he said, ‘people during the trial thoroughly enjoyed, having access that they hadn’t previously had.’

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield on Q&A

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield on Q&A

The government now has the interim report on the trial, and is expecting the final report in the near future. Senator Fifield stressed that it is important that people who are blind or vision impaired have access to media, and that he is very keen to see what can be done with AD.

Asked by host Tony Jones if, wanting AD to happen, he would be pushing for funding to get through the razor gang, Senator Fifield replied, ‘We’ve got to look at the final report when it comes through. There’ll be some technical issues, I know. I can’t make any promises here tonight, but I’m not unsympathetic’.

The full program (without audio descriptions) is available on ABC iView. A number of unaired video questions were also asked on the same topic. The trial on ABC iView was generally well-received, and brought Australian catch-up TV into line with other, less mainstream services. However, in the race to bring AD to free to air channels, Australia is certainly at the rear of the pack.

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