Petition started to bring audio description to TV

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Monday, 17 August 2015 14:56pm

Stephen Jolley, who has been blind since birth, has started a petition on, asking the Minister for Communications, Malcolm Turnbull, to change the broadcasting laws so that free-to-air television channels must provide audio description for blind and vision impaired people.

Girl wearing headphones, pointing a remote control with her right hand

“Audio description helps people who are blind or have low vision to get the whole story,” writes Jolly on the petition page. “It’s available in theatres, on DVDs and at the cinema – but still not on free to air TV in Australia.

“We have fallen hopelessly behind the rest of the world. Audio description is available on free to air TV in the US, UK, Europe and even New Zealand. For a while now, my friends in the UK have even been able to watch audio described episodes of Australian produced programs such as Home and Away and Neighbours.”

Audio description was trialled on ABC1 in 2012. This was not followed by the introduction of a regular service on television, as was widely expected to happen, but there is currently a trial of audio description on the ABC’s iview, which commenced in April and is scheduled to run for 15 months.

For more information, see the ADonTV website.

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