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30/01/2001

NEW TARGET FOR SUBTITLES ON DIGITAL TV

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CULTURE Secretary Chris Smith has published plans to improve access to digital television services for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or partially sighted.
The report, which recommends more subtitling, regular reviews of sign language and audio description services, was published following a review of the provision of these services on digital television.
Key recommendations include a new target for subtitles on digital terrestrial television (DTT) and 80 per cent of programming on DTT channels to have subtitles within ten years of the service starting. This is an increase from the current target of 50 per cent.
Sign language and audio description services review the requirements every two years as part of the switch over to digital television.
Smith also plans to extend the requirements to include cable and satellite services, introducing new legislation and make provision for subtitling and sign language audio description services.
Culture Secretary, Chris Smith, said: "Television plays a central role in the everyday life of the country. It can have a real impact on all our lives. For many it is a friend and companion, not just a valuable source of information and entertainment. It is essential that all sections of society, including people with disabilities, have access to digital television, especially to new education and information services. The changes I am recommending mean that people with sensory impairments will be able to derive real benefit from the huge potential of the new technology." (CMcL)
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