Human Rights Commission requests further information from cinemas

Friday, 8 January 2010 13:03pm

The Australian Human Rights Commission is currently assessing an application from Hoyts, Greater Union, Village and Reading cinemas for a temporary exemption from the Disability Discrimination Act in relation to captioning and audio description while they expand the current accessible circuit from 12 to 35 cinemas.

Before making a decision on the application, the Commission has written to the applicants with a request for further information on a number of issues raised in submissions from the general public. In order to ensure continuing transparency in processing the application, the content of the Commission’s letter has been added to the documentation on its website, and any responses to the letter will be added when received.   

In summary, the request asks for responses to the following issues:

1.      Requests that the Commission reject the application outright.

2.      Objections to the fact that individuals would lose their rights to lodge complaints under the DDA.

3.      The issue of whether such increases should not be linked to a temporary exemption.

4.      The financial justification by the cinemas of why it is not possible to move towards 100% compliance when millions of dollars are being spent on 3D cinema.

5.      The proposal to begin negotiations between industry and stakeholders as soon as possible in order to start the process of mapping out future roll-out of accessibility and addressing other issues raised in submissions.

6.      The need for industry to be more active in the marketing and promotion of film.

7.      The issue of captions being available at only three sessions each week.

8.      The need for the applicants to specify the number of audio description headsets available at each accessible screen.

9.      The need to research and test a range of technological solutions to the delivery of audio description.

10.  The issue of availability of audio description at all sessions in accessible screens.

11.  The need to explore alternative forms of delivery of captioning in order to make captioning available in all sessions at accessible screens.

12.  Concerns about the sourcing and showing of G and PG rated films in accessible screens.

13.  The call for a commitment to include accessibility in all new cinemas and existing cinemas that undergo refurbishment as a matter of course.

14.  A proposal to industry to undertake customer research to test the suggestion that open captions are a distraction and would affect cinema attendances.

15.  That the retrofit of audio description to the current 12 cinemas that offer captioning should occur during the early stage of the program.

16.  Further clarification on whether or not the proposed exemption was to cover cinemas wholly owned and operated by the applicants, or if it would include other cinemas where the applicants are part owners or affiliates.

17.  The quality of audio description and proposal of a commitment to developing quality control guidelines.


Top of page
Tags: Cinema