HL Deb 15 December 2003 vol 655 cc112-3WA
Lord Carter

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What steps they are taking to encourage broadcasters to make their services more accessible to blind and partially sighted people. [HL275]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

The Communications Act sets an audio description target for broadcasters. This is that within a 10-year anniversary, 10 per cent of non-excluded programmes are to be audio described for the blind. The Act extends this requirement to digital cable and satellite broadcasters for the first time.

Ofcom is also required to draw up a code relating to provision for people with sensory impairments, giving guidance as to the extent to which services should promote the understanding and enjoyment by persons who are deaf or hard of hearing, blind or partially sighted, and those with a dual sensory impairment.

In addition, we understand from discussions with manufacturers that there should be receivers compatible with audio description on the digital terrestrial platform coming on the market around Christmas.