ACCAN calls for new access legislation

Friday, 16 August 2013 11:28am

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has called for new legislation to ensure the accessibility of online content and digital technology.

The new legislation would be based America’s 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA), which was passed in 2010. The most comprehensive access legislation in the world, it makes it mandatory for programs captioned for television broadcast to be captioned when distributed over the internet. Digital television receivers, smartphones, tablets and other devices must also be able to receive captions and play audio description.

ACCAN’s campaign was launched on the first day of the M-Enabling Conference in Sydney on 14 August. Teresa Corbin, ACCAN’s CEO, said, "An Aussie 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act would ensure that all Australians are able to travel on the road to our exciting digital future. "It would mean all Australians would be able to get the same advantages from the National Broadband Network as it is rolled out."

Senator Kate Lundy, Minister Assisting for the Digital Economy, who was also speaking at the conference, supported ACCAN’s proposals. "If we require legislation to give effect to the accessibility principle under Digital First, then yes we would do it."

The launch of ACCAN’s  campaign coincided with the release of Media Access Australia’s report, Captioning on Video on Demand Services: It’s Time for Australia to Catch Up.

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