Rejection reasons revealed for cinema temporary exemption application

Friday, 30 April 2010 15:35pm

The Australian Human Rights Commission has released the full details of its rejection of the major cinema chains’ application for a temporary exemption from complaints under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. 

The applicants, Hoyts, Village, Greater Union Birch Carroll & Coyle, and Reading cinemas, requested that an exemption in relation to the provision of open captions and audio description of films be granted for two and a half years, in return for a progressive expansion of the current program by 23 cinemas. This would have included the retrofitting of the existing 12 captioned locations with audio description equipment. The application also included a future review of the program, and an assurance of making screening time information accessible. 

 The Commission refused the exemption for the following reasons:

  • The reasons advanced by the applicants in support of the exemption are insufficient to justify the granting of the exemption.

  • The progress in captioning and audio description proposed by the applicants is insufficient both in the number of cinemas that will be enabled to screen captioned and audio described films, and the number of times per week that this service will be available. This is particularly so given the financial resources apparently available to the applicants.

  • Any benefit that would result from the granting of the exemption is outweighed by the detriment that would be experienced by cinema patrons who have a vision or hearing impairment whose ability to complain about cinema captioning and audio description would be affected by the exemption.

More information on the reasons for the rejection can be found on the Commission’s website. 

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