Broadcasting: Disability Aids

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 23rd September 2021.

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Photo of Feryal Clark Feryal Clark Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to help ensure that all recorded shows have adequate subtitles.

Photo of Julia Lopez Julia Lopez Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), Minister of State

The government recognises that as part of a digitally inclusive society, television content should be accessible for all UK audiences. Under the Communications Act 2003, the Secretary of State has the power to impose requirements on service providers for the purpose of ensuring that on demand services are accessible to people with disabilities. This includes requirements in relation to subtitling, audio description and sign language.

As part of the process to implement these new requirements, the Government asked Ofcom to provide recommendations on how legislation could make on-demand services more accessible. Ofcom published an initial report in December 2018, and then, following a request from DCMS, carried out an additional targeted consultation to inform further recommendations on how the new requirements would work in practice to ensure that as far as possible all audiences should be able to access on-demand services. These latest proposals were published on 9 July 2021. We are giving them careful consideration and will set out next steps in due course.

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