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Use Teletext Subtitles 20 October 2004

Anthony Hewitt, Director of the Communications Commission, was urging people to make use of teletext subtitles at a talk to the Probus Club of Western Mann in Peel on Monday. An increasing number of television programmes have subtitles available. They are accessed through Teletext page 888 and the equivalent on satellite TV.

More than 70 channels now carry subtitling. It adds to viewing enjoyment for the deaf and the hard of hearing. An increasing proportion of programmes are subtitled or signed using British Sign Language. An exciting new service called Audio Description is also to become available and will provide a separate sound track in-between the dialogue to describe the scene and the action. This will enable the visually impaired to enjoy a wider range of TV programmes.

Amongst groups consulted when setting quotas for programming with subtitling, signing and Audio Description were the RNID and RNIB in Britain and the Irish Deaf Society, National Association for Deaf People, Irish Hard of Hearing Association and National Council for the Blind in Ireland.

Mr Hewitt also reported on progress from a meeting of the European Platform of Regulatory Authorities (EPRA) held in Istanbul last week. The Isle of Man was the Rapporteur for a plenary EPRA session on rules to provide access to TV and radio programmes for people who are aurally and visually impaired. This is of growing significance as the population ages.

The Isle of Man Communications Commission joined EPRA earlier this year. It is a forum for European broadcasting regulators with a membership from 39 countries across Europe. It is not an EU body, although both the EU and the Council of Europe send observers.

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