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Volume 405: debated on Wednesday 21 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps she is taking to encourage subtitling on (a) television, (b) videos, (c) DVDs and (d) other audiovisual media. [113768]

[holding answer 19 May 2003]: The Communications Bill currently before Parliament strengthens the requirements for subtitling on television. The Bill sets subtitling targets of 90 per cent. of programmes on Channels 3 and 4, and 80 per cent. of programmes on all other channels, extending these requirements to digital cable and satellite broadcasters for the first time.The Government is working with a range of organisations in the audiovisual sector-such as the Broadcasters Disability Network, film distributors, trade organisations and companies providing subtitling—to promote awareness of subtitling issues on DVD and video. We try to ensure that the views of people with sensory impairments are taken into account, and work is taken forward in liaison with organisations representing these groups.Promotion of awareness of subtitling issues in cinema is primarily through the Film Council as the national body responsible for film strategy, but we also liase with other interested organisations in the sector such as PACT and the Film Distributors Association.I am working closely with colleagues at the Department for Work and Pensions which has the lead on disability issues on making Government services and functions more accessible to disabled people. That work includes an inter-Governmental group working on web accessibility and accreditation in partnership with industry and facilitated by the Office of the e-Envoy.