Captioning Working Group – Communique, May 2013

The Captioning Working Group, an initiative of Deaf Australia, met for the first time on 2nd May 2013 with representatives from Deaf Australia, Deaf Victoria, Deafness Forum of Australia, Action on Cinema Access, Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, Arts Access Victoria and Media Access Australia, to discuss captioning issues across all media formats.
The group agreed in principle the purposes of the Captioning Working Group which are:

  • To work as a unified front to address captioning issues across various media formats;
  • To undertake campaigns to promote increased access to caption content suitable for deaf and hard of hearing people in various formats; and
  • To keep abreast of research and identify best practice for delivery of captioning.

Ann Darwin, President of Deaf Australia welcomed the group and outlined the challenges going forward for the deaf sector. She expressed the hope that this Captioning Working Group will work together to achieve outcomes in the best interests of our consumers.
Two key priorities identified at this initial meetings, were:

  • The need to develop captioning principles, and
  • Undertake a cooperative campaign on television caption quality.

Captioning Principles:
The group identified that there is a need for captioning principles to be developed that will set the framework for the Working Group and the industry to work within; this will create harmony between consumers and industry.
Cooperative Campaign:
Captions shown on broadcast programs usually receive few complaints from consumers, which leads the industry to believe that problems are not systemic and usually believe the fault is with the region for poor reception or technical issues. This cooperative campaign will identify several programs and coordinate complaints from the community so that regulators and networks can see when problems are systemic and that they may need to reassess how they approach these issues systemically.
Digital Inclusion and Disability Forum
Kyle Miers, the convenor, informed the group that Deaf Australia received an invitation to present at the Digital Inclusion and Disability Forum held in Melbourne this month.
Membership of the Working Group
We are looking to include one more organisation representative so this group is inclusive and representative of all people who are deaf and hard of hearing. We received one Expression of Interest from an independent community member and wish to seek for one more independent community member. Interested people should send their expression of interest to Karen Lloyd at [email protected].
The group will meet once every 3 months and will meet again in August.

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