Captioning Award winners announced

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Friday, 26 October 2012 12:18pm

Last night the Deafness Forum of Australia celebrated the achievements of the media and entertainment industry in providing access to the one in six Australians who are Deaf or hearing impaired. Hosted by Rodney Adams, an Itinerant Teacher of the Deaf, the evening was a celebration of the impact of captions on literacy, human rights and social inclusion.

The winners in each category were:

  • TV Captioning: Nine Network for providing captions on 300 hours of Olympics coverage, particularly outside primetime.
  • Entertainment, Cinema & the Arts: the Sydney Opera House for its continued provision of captions across its performance program.
  • Online Captioning & Digital Innovation: SBS, for becoming the second television network to provide captions for its catch-up TV service
  • Captions for Kids: Parliamentary Education Office for captioning every video available on its website
  • Organisational Commitment to Captioning: Showtime for captioning 80-90 per cent of its programming
  • Roma Wood Community Award: Senator Ursula Stephens for her work as a patron for Media Access Australia’s captions in schools campaign, CAP THAT!, and political support of captioning.

The awards were judged independently by Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, Hear For You’s Managing Director, Oliver Anderson and Media Access Australia CEO, Alex Varley.

Varley said of the judging process:

What the judges were really looking for was something beyond the ordinary.  Australia now has locked in quotas for captioning and meeting those alone is not worthy of an award.  Nine Network’s efforts with the Olympics were about captioning between midnight and 6am which took extensive resources and organisation, but was very important for access to the biggest sporting spectacle in the world.

Innovation is a key feature of Australian media and access needs to keep pace with that.  With SBS’s catch-up TV captioning, not only has it provided a great service that most television networks do not offer, but the technology behind it means that it is sustainable and cost effective.  This means that captioning has become a core part of the product, just like sound and video.

The Captioning Awards are not just about the big networks and major media players.  Sustained effort and commitment also occurs at a more local level. The work of Jenny Spinak at the Sydney Opera House has been built up over a decade and is now part of the psyche of the venue.

Deafness Forum of Australia’s ambassador, Senator Rachel Siewart, spoke about her mother’s experience of hearing loss and the difference quality captions can make to people’s feeling of being included in society.

Further information on the levels of captioning available in across television, cinema, DVD, online video and the arts is available on our website.

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