Foxtel supplied the ACMA with a copy of the master recording of the program which showed that it was prepared with captions for broadcast, but did not have an “as transmitted” recording (which would have shown what the viewers saw). It had checked its records and there were no errors logged on the night of transmission, while no-one else complained about the lack of captions. Foxtel admitted that the lack of captions could have been caused by a technical fault that had remedied itself, but it was impossible to check this. As there was no “as transmitted” recording of the program, the ACMA decided not to make a finding.
The ACMA has the power to enforce the rules on captioning, which are included in the Broadcasting Services Act, but is obviously hampered in doing this if broadcasters do not keep the necessary recordings. Media Access Australia has been advised that, in the wake of this investigation, Foxtel has now upgraded its compliance recording system.
The investigation report can be downloaded from the ACMA’s television investigations page.
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