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Broadcasting: Visual Impairment

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN 116958, tabled on 2 February 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to improve audio description services among broadcasters.

Answered on

9 February 2022

As part of promoting a digitally inclusive society, the department engages with a range of stakeholders including disability charities, broadcasters, and Ofcom to support improving accessibility requirements in DCMS sectors.

In broadcasting, Ofcom is responsible for enforcing statutory targets for the provision of access services, including audio description, for broadcasters’ linear TV services. These targets are set out in Ofcom’s Code on Television Access Services. In their most recent report on Access services, Ofcom found that in the first half of 2021 channels continued to meet or exceed their requirements to provide access services. Ofcom’s Code also makes clear that Ofcom requires broadcasters to make potential users aware of the available audio description through electronic programme guides, on-air announcements and information in relevant publications.

In addition to the statutory targets for audio description on linear TV services, the government is giving careful consideration to the improvement of audio description services. In particular we are evaluating Ofcom’s recommendations on how accessibility requirements can be extended to on demand services.