Michael Fabricant has welcomed the news that Ofcom, the communications
regulator, has announced a new ground breaking access code that will
dramatically improve the choice of television programmes available for
millions of deaf and hard of hearing people.
Michael argued for subtitling when he served on the Communications Bill
committee last year which established Ofcom. "The need for improved
subtitling for deaf and hard of hearing people cannot be ignored. For many
of my constituents, subtitles are of vital importance and enable deaf and
hard of hearing people to access broadcast information and entertainment."
"It is very positive that many more channels will now be screening
additional subtitled programmes. The RNID (Royal National Institution for
the Deaf) has done an excellent job in informing Ofcom of the need for
subtitling and raising awareness of the issue to wider audiences."
After an extensive consultation period, 70 of the most popular digital cable
and satellite television channels, including Disney and Hallmark, will have
to subtitle a prescribed percentage of their programmes, producing thousands
more hours of accessible television. Deaf and hard of hearing people will
now have much greater access to important news, documentaries, sport and
entertainment on television.
The increase in the number of channels regulated, is further complimented by
Ofcom’s decision to set demanding bi-annual targets for the 70 channels.
These targets will force digital cable and satellite television channels to
deliver increased subtitling services consistently over the next ten years,
leading to 80% of programmes subtitled within 10 years. These targets will
ensure that deaf and hard of hearing people will see real progress in the
number of subtitled programmes available on television.
John Low, Chief Executive RNID says: "This is great news for millions of
deaf and hard of hearing people, allowing them to enjoy much more
television, along with their hearing friends and family. RNID is delighted
that, after tireless campaigning, Ofcom now recognises the importance that
subtitles play in the lives of deaf and hard of hearing people.
"One million people in the UK are reliant on subtitles to enjoy television,
and five million people use them frequently, proving that millions of people
will benefit from Ofcom’s decision to demand increased levels of subtitling
from digital cable and satellite television channels. Ofcom has risen well
to the challenge of ensuring equality of access to television for people
with sensory disability."