HC Deb 01 April 2004 vol 419 cc1568-9W
Mr. Jim Cunningham

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on how her Department is responding to Ofcom's recommendations for subtitle provision, with particular reference to live events. [165135]

Estelle Morris

The Government are committed to extending access to broadcasting services for people who are deaf or hard of hearing—hence the new statutory requirements in the Communications Act 2003. The Act requires Ofcom to draw up a code on subtitling provision and gives them the ability to exclude programmes and services from the subtitling requirements after considering a number of criteria including the extent of the benefit for disabled people and technical difficulty.

Ofcom consulted on a draft code and I understand that, in light of representations received, Ofcom do not now propose to exempt live programming from the subtitling requirements. Indeed Ofcom have concluded that it is important that live programming should be included in the requirement and we welcome that conclusion.