Subscription TV industry lodges new captioning exemption application with the Human Rights Commission

Thursday, 18 February 2010 15:05pm

The Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association (ASTRA) has applied to the Australian Human Rights Commission for a temporary exemption under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 with regard to closed captioning on its members' channels. This replaces a previous application lodged with the Commission in June 2009.

Under the first exemption granted to ASTRA by the Commission in June 2004, ASTRA agreed to implement a number of proposals, including the enabling of 40 channels for captioning in two stages, with these channels captioning 5% of total programs in the first year, followed by 5% increases in each subsequent year. In its latest application, ASTRA submits that these targets have been exceeded.

The new exemption application breaks channels down into six groups. These are:

Group 1: Broadly viewed movie, children’s and entertainment channels

Group 2: Mixed genre with a focus on basic reach channels

Group 3: Mixed genre with a focus in tiered and specialty channels

Group 4: Newly launched channels

Group 5: Local sports and news channels

Group 6: Music channels

The application proposed different caption targets for each group, commencing 1 July 2010. Thus, Group 1 channels would have to caption 50% of total content in 2010/2011, rising to 70% in 2014/2015; and Group 5 channels would have to caption 5% in 2010/2011, rising to 10% in 2014/2015.

These proposed targets cover 65 channels altogether.

The Commission has called for submissions from interested parties in response to the application, to be lodged by 2 April 2010. For more information, and to download ASTRA’s full application, go to the Australian Human Rights Commission website. 


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