Cinema

Senator pushes for cinema access in Kentucky USA

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Kentucky Democrat Senator Ray Jones has introduced a bill which would compel Kentucky cinemas to provide captioned access. According to Jones there are 640,000 Kentuckians with a hearing impairment and most cinemas do not offer a captioned service. 

His bill proposes that any cinema with 5 screens or more offers at least one screen with captions. The delivery method would be left up to the cinema to decide, ranging from closed captioned services (such as Rear Window) to open captioning.

Jones cites attitude as the main barrier to widespread adoption. “It comes down to the people simply not wanting to spend the money to provide this service.”

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Progress in Arizona movie access litigation

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The Arizona Attorney General’s Department has sued the Harkins Theater Chain for not providing captions and audio description for its movies in contravention of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Although it is likely to be another 4-6 months until the legal process is played out, early indications are that the judges in the Federal Appeals Court are moving towards requiring access to the chain. 

The three judges hearing the case demonstrated a keen interest in the issue and grilled the lawyer for Harkins about why his company didn’t just “do the right thing” and provide the technology to allow people with hearing and vision impairments to enjoy movies. At several points the judges expressed surprise that Harkins had chosen to fight this case so hard. 

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Human Rights Commission requests further information from cinemas

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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.

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