Vision Australia calls for mimumum of 14 hours of audio description on Australian TV

Vision Australia is calling for TV networks to include an audio description service in order to make their broadcasts more accessible for the 350,000 plus Australians who are blind or have low vision.

The organisation is taking action in the Australian Human Rights Commission against Seven, Nine, Ten, SBS and Foxtel to use an audio description service which is a second audio track that can be turned on and off so a person who is blind or vision impaired can listen to the visual elements of a TV show such as actions, scene changes, gestures and facial expressions.

The networks are being asked for a minimum of 14 hours of audio described content per week.

An example of the audio description service:

Vision Australia’s general manager of advocacy and engagement Maryanne Diamond has compared the service to captioning for deaf viewers.

“They enjoy the same programs as fully sighted Australians, so why should they be prevented from fully experiencing them like everyone else? It’s ridiculous that blind or low vision people can watch Home and Away with audio description in the UK but not in Australia!

“Australia lags behind the rest of the world in providing audio description. Countries such as the UK, the US, Ireland, Germany, Spain and New Zealand already provide audio description on free view or subscription television.”

The UK’s Channel 4 offers audio description on 20 per cent of their programs.

“Permanent, real-time, audio description on Australian television, similar to what is available now in many other countries, is the only way to remove current discriminatory barriers for Australians who are blind or have low vision.”

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) is representing Vision Australia in the Australian Human Rights Commission.



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