Media Release: Australian Government urged to strengthen response on audio description – Blind Citizens Australia

22 May 2023

Disability advocates are urging the Australian Government to commit to changing the law to require audio description be provided on Australian television, in line with a UN Committee recommendation.

Audio description gives verbal narration of important visual elements such as scenes, settings, actions, costumes and on-screen text.

Following a complaint from disability rights advocate Lauren Henley, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities found Australia is in breach of its international human rights obligations under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as audio description is not consistently available on Australian television and there is no clear Government plan to ensure it is.

In a response to the UN Committee, the Australian Government disagrees with the finding that Australia is breaching the rights of people who are blind or vision impaired.

The Government commits to providing ongoing support to increase audio-described content on the ABC and SBS, and intends to work with commercial free-to-air broadcasters and subscription television providers on a framework and timetable to improve the provision of audio description. However, there is no commitment to changing laws to introduce minimum requirements.

‘It’s disappointing the Government has failed to accept the expert finding and recommendations of the [...]

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