Deaf charity Action on Hearing Loss has said it is disappointed by the Government’s refusal to introduce legislation to end digital exclusion faced by people with hearing loss due to the lack of subtitles.
Charity Action on Hearing Loss’ Subtitle it! campaign, which launched in June 2015, called on the Government to introduce measures to improve the accessibility of subtitles on video-on-demand content so that deaf people can ‘catch-up’ on TV and films how and when they want.
The Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy, Ed Vaizey, has responded to the campaign, notifying Action on Hearing Loss that, following a Government review carried out in Autumn 2015, it feels that sufficient progress is being made by broadcasters, content providers and platform operators towards increasing the provision of subtitles on their video-on-demand services, and that the introduction of legislation “could have a detrimental impact on what the sector has shown it is able to achieve on a voluntary basis.”
Action on Hearing Loss Chief Executive Paul Breckell said:
“Given the fast-changing media landscape in the UK, I am very disappointed that the Government won’t be taking decisive action to ensure that people with hearing loss do not face digital exclusion. We have warmly welcomed some exciting improvements to the provision of subtitles that have been promised bysome broadcasters and platform operators but the overall picture of current provision is bleak, with 76% of the UK’s on-demand services still inaccessible to people with hearing loss – just a 4% improvement from the previous year.”
Mr Vaizey told the charity that he will be contacting broadcasters, content providers and platform operators in Spring 2017 to request an update on what further progress has been made.
Paul Breckell also said:
“I hope that by extending the deadline for the industry to take action to Spring 2017, we will start to see some concrete improvements being made by platform operators such as Sky, Virgin and BT. However, the Government has failed to acknowledge the industry “stalemate” that persists between content providers and platform operators, which has been blocking progress for some time, cited in the latest report from the regulator.
‘We are pleased that the Government is calling on the industry to work closely with Ofcom and organisations such as Action on Hearing Loss to meet the requirements of those with hearing loss, and, in the absence of legislation, the Minister’s leadership on this issue will be crucial to ensuring that people with hearing loss aren’t left cut-off from video-on-demand services.
‘We will be responding to the industry, the regulator and the Government shortly, and will be working closely with our campaigners and supportive parliamentarians to continue campaigning to ensure that people with hearing loss have equal access to TV.”
The Limping Chicken is the UK’s deaf blogs and news website, and is the world’s most popular deaf blog. It is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.
Please note that the views of the writers are their own, and not necessarily the views of the Editor or site as a whole. Read our disclaimer here.
- Ai-Media: Remote captioning. How to turn on captions on your smartphone
- Bellman & Symfon: home alerting solutions
- Deaf Umbrella: sign language interpreting and communications support
- Appa: Communication services for Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing people
- Signature: Find out about the Signature conference here.
- SignVideo: Instant BSL video interpreting online
- 121 Captions: captioning and speech-to-text services
- Hearing Direct: Online hearing aids
- The National Theatre: Captioned and BSL accessible theatre in London
- Doncaster School for the Deaf: education for Deaf children
- SignLive: Online video interpreting for Deaf people
- Royal Shakespeare Company: Captioned and BSL interpreted performances (see dates here)
- Royal School for the Deaf, Derby: Residential education for deaf children
- RAD Tax Advice: Tax and Tax Credit info for Deaf people
- Deaf Independent: Deaf care and support services
- Signworld: online BSL learning and teaching materials
- Performance Interpreting: BSL interpreting at concerts
- National Deaf Children's Society: The leading charity for deaf children
- DCAL: Find out how to study at the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre, London
- cSeeker: Deaf-led educational communication support service
- Signed Culture: Advocating for BSL access to arts and culture
- SignHealth: healthcare charity for Deaf people
- CJ Interpreting: communication support in BSL
- Sign Solutions:, language and learning
- Action Deafness Communications: sign language and Red Dot online video interpreting
- BSLcourses.co.uk: Provider of online BSL courses
- British Society for Mental Health and Deafness: Promoting positive mental health for deaf people
- deafPLUS: Money advice line in BSL
- Hamilton Lodge School in Brighton: education for Deaf children
- Lipspeaker UK: specialist lipspeaking support
- Ozen: Australian hearing aid specialists
- Elmfield School, Bristol: Inclusive education for Deaf pupils
- Exeter Deaf Academy: education for Deaf children