Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

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Broadcasting Services (Television Captioning) Standard 2013

Authoritative Version
  • - F2013L00918
  • In force - Superseded Version
  • View Series
Standards/Other as made
This instrument establishes minimum standards relating to the quality of captioning services provided for television programs by commercial television broadcasting licensees, national broadcasters, subscription television broadcasting licensees and subscription television narrowcasting licensees. This will ensure that captioning services are meaningful to deaf and hearing impaired viewers.
Administered by: Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications
Registered 05 Jun 2013
Tabling HistoryDate
Tabled HR06-Jun-2013
Tabled Senate17-Jun-2013

Legislative Instruments Act 2003

Section 26 – Explanatory Statement

Broadcasting  Services (Television Captioning) Standard 2013 made under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992

 

On 24th May 2013 the Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) determined the Broadcasting Services (Television Captioning) Standard 2013 (TCS). The TCS was made under subsection 130ZZA(1) of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (the BSA). The TCS commences on the day after it is registered on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments (FRLI).

 

 

The Broadcasting Services (Television Captioning) Standard 2013

 

Subsection 130ZZA(1) of the BSA requires the ACMA to determine standards that relate to the quality of captioning services provided for television programs by commercial television broadcasting licensees, national broadcasters, subscription television broadcasting licensees and subscription television narrowcasting licensees.

 

Subsection 130ZZA(2) of the BSA states that for the purposes of subsection 130ZZA(1), quality includes readability, comprehensibility and accuracy.

 

Subsections 130ZZA(4), (6) and (7) of the BSA require commercial television broadcasting licensees,  subscription television broadcasting licensees and subscription television narrowcasting licensees, respectively, to comply with the TCS. Pursuant to Schedule 2, clauses 7, 10 and 11 of the BSA, each of these licensees respectively, must comply with the TCS as a condition of its licence.

 

Subsection 130ZZA(5) of the BSA requires national broadcasters to comply with the TCS.

 

The purpose of developing the TCS is to establish minimum standards relating to the quality of captioning services provided for television programs by commercial television broadcasting licensees, national broadcasters, subscription television broadcasting licensees and subscription television narrowcasting licensees. This will ensure that captioning services are meaningful to deaf and hearing impaired viewers.

 

 

 


Consultation


Before deciding to determine the TCS, the ACMA took the following steps by way of consultation:

 

·         In July 2011, following meetings of the Co-regulatory Captioning Committee, that were attended by the ACMA, community representative groups, broadcasters and captioning service providers, the ACMA developed the Considerations—The quality of captioning document (the meta-principles).The meta-principles are indicators relating to quality that have been used for assessing whether a licensee has met its captioning obligations for a particular program.

 

·         The draft Broadcasting Services (Television Captioning) Standard 2013 (the draft standard) was based on the meta-principles.

 

·         In developing the draft standard, the ACMA met with the television industry, television captioning service providers and community representative groups from August to September 2012. This initial consultation provided feedback that was incorporated into the draft standard. Some of the key issues that were raised included how live captioning and pre-prepared captioning would be considered, whether setting performance benchmarks in the form of metrics was appropriate, and the importance of explaining, within the standard, how a holistic approach would be taken when assessing the quality of a captioning service provided for a program.

 

·         On 4 December 2012, prior to issuing the draft standard, the ACMA again met with the television industry, television captioning service providers and community representative groups to provide an overview of the draft standard.

 

·         On 5 December 2012, the ACMA publicly released a copy of the draft standard and consultation paper, including emailing the draft standard and consultation paper to the television industry, captioning service providers and community representative groups. The consultation paper invited comment on the draft standard by 22 January 2013.

 

·         The ACMA carefully considered the twenty submissions it received before finalising the TCS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Description of the provisions of the TCS

 

Section 1 Name of Standard

 

Section 1 names the TCS.

 

Section 2 Commencement

 

Section 2 provides that the TCS will commence on the day after the TCS is registered on FRLI.

 

Section 3 Object of Standard

 

Section 3 of the TCS sets out the object of the TCS, which is to set minimum requirements for broadcasters and narrowcasters, relating to the quality of captioning services they provide, to ensure that captioning services are meaningful to deaf and hearing-impaired viewers.

 

Section 4 Definitions

 

Section 4 defines terms used in the TCS.

 

Section 5 Quality of captioning services

 

Section 5 provides that broadcasters and narrowcasters must comply with the requirements in the TCS when providing a captioning service in accordance with their captioning obligations.

 

Section 5 also includes a note explaining how the ACMA intends to exercise its enforcement powers under the BSA in relation to compliance with the TCS.

 

Section 6 Determining the quality of captioning services

 

Section 6 describes how the quality of a captioning service provided for a program will be determined.

 

Paragraph (a) of section 6 states that the quality of a captioning service must be considered in the context of the program as a whole. This means that a number of factors will be taken into account when determining the quality of a captioning service provided for a program.

 

The ACMA recognises that broadcasters and narrowcasters may use different methods of captioning, such as live captioning and pre-prepared captioning. The ACMA takes the view that it is important to consider whether the captioning service provided with a program is what would be expected in the context of the program as a whole.

 

Factors to consider include the circumstances of the broadcast and the nature of the program being broadcast. For example, it is reasonable to expect that during the live broadcast of a fast-paced sporting match there would be a time lag between the captions and the soundtrack and the caption lines may not end at natural linguistic breaks.

 

In contrast, during the broadcast of a fully-scripted drama program, that had previously been broadcast in Australia, or elsewhere, it would be reasonable to expect that there would be no, or minimal, time lag and caption lines would end at natural linguistic breaks. The expectations for the other factors listed at sections 7, 8 and 9 of the TCS would also be significantly greater than they would be for a
fast-paced, live sporting match.

 

Paragraph (b) of section 6, and the definition of “program” in section 4, together have the effect that the quality of a captioning service for a program that is a distinct program segment within a television program will be considered in the context of that distinct program segment on its own, provided that the segment is unrelated to other program segments. So, for example, a current affairs program may consist of several segments which are each distinct from and unrelated to other segments in that program. 

 

Paragraph (c) of section 6 provides that the quality of a captioning service will be determined by considering the cumulative effect of the readability, accuracy and comprehensibility of the captions.

 

Section 7 Readability of captions

 

Paragraph (a) of section 7 provides that broadcasters and narrowcasters must use captions that are readable when providing a captioning service for a program.

 

Paragraph (b) of section 7 sets out the factors which must be considered, in the context of the program as a whole, when determining whether captions are readable.

 

Whilst each of the factors listed in paragraph (b) of section 7 must be considered when determining whether captions are readable, the ACMA takes the view that there will be circumstances where a captioning service may not satisfy all the criteria listed in paragraph (b) of section 7, but the captions may nonetheless be readable and meaningful to deaf and hearing impaired viewers.

 

Section 8 Accuracy of captions

 

Paragraph (a) of section 8 provides that broadcasters and narrowcasters must use captions that accurately recreate the soundtrack of a program when providing a captioning service for a program.

 

Paragraph (b) of section 8 sets out the factors which must be considered, in the context of the program as a whole, when determining whether captions accurately recreate the soundtrack of a program.

 

Whilst each of the factors listed in paragraph (b) of section 8 must be considered when determining whether captions accurately recreate the soundtrack of a program, the ACMA takes the view that there will be circumstances where a captioning service may not satisfy all the criteria listed in paragraph (b) of section 8, but the captions may nonetheless accurately recreate the soundtrack of a program and be meaningful to deaf and hearing impaired viewers.

Section 9 Comprehensibility of captions

 

Paragraph (a) of section 9 provides that broadcasters and narrowcasters must use captions that are comprehensible when providing a captioning service for a program.

 

Paragraph (b) of section 9 sets out the factors which must be considered, in the context of the program as a whole, when determining whether captions are comprehensible.

 

Whilst each of the factors listed in paragraph (b) of section 9 must be considered when determining whether captions are comprehensible, the ACMA takes the view that there will be circumstances where a captioning service may not satisfy all the criteria listed in paragraph (b) of section 9, but the captions may nonetheless be comprehensible and meaningful to deaf and hearing impaired viewers.