THE BROADCASTING AUTHORITY of Ireland has today published new rules regarding the level of subtitling, sign language and audio description that must be made available to the public by Irish television broadcasters.
The BAI Access Rules aim to make television more accessible and enjoyable for people who are hard-of-hearing, partially-sighted or blind – and one of its central objectives is to enhance the reliability and quality of subtitling.
Broadcasters are now being encouraged not only to meet designated targets, but to increase the number of subtitled programmes being made available.
The inclusion of of sign language in children’s programming, the use of captions and audio description are being included in the new rules. Meanwhile, the impact of digital TV on access services, the level of consultation between broadcasters and users on access issues, and the monitoring of compliance with the new rules have also been discussed.
The new regulations were drawn up after an “extensive” period of consultation, the BAI said.
Chairperson of the BAI, Bob Collins, said: “The BAI is pleased to launch the new Access Rules which have been reviewed and revamped to be more appropriate for these times and to reflect both the needs of viewers and the changing schedules of broadcasters”.
The new rules also include a change in timeframes set out for the achievement of targets: the 2005 rules gave a 10-year timeframe for achieving targets, but a five-year-timeframe with a two-year review will now exist under the new rules.