Charity calls for regulatory action from Ofcom over Channel 4 lack of subtitles

The channel has provided an update for viewers...

10/22/2021 1:00:00 PM

The channel has provided an update for viewers...

Lack of subtitles is having ‘a detrimental impact on young deaf viewers'.

following an outage that began in September, lambasting a ‘complete dereliction of duty’.On Saturday September 25, a fire suppression system was triggered at Red Bee Media’s broadcast centre, which transmits all of Channel 4’s services.This resulted in the systems being severely damaged, which caused channels and on-demand services to temporarily be taken off-air and has subsequently impacted the broadcaster’s subtitles, audio description and sign language interpreters on programmes, causing them to disappear.

Sappy ending: Canada digs deep into strategic reserves to cover maple syrup shortage Compulsory Covid PCR tests for arrivals to UK is ‘huge blow’ to travel industry Malala Yousafzai graduates from Oxford University

In a statement, the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) said that it is ‘completely unacceptable’ that Channel 4 is unable to provide subtitles for viewers, with the lack of subtitles, sign language interpreters and audio description impacting viewers with hearing and visual impairments.

Channel 4 was recently criticised when it was announced that these servicesaren’t likely to return until mid-November.In a letter, the NDCS said that it feels ‘grace concern at the protracted absence of subtitles from Channel 4’s content’, which is having ‘a very direct and detrimental impact on young deaf viewers’, while also pointing out that many of the 12 million deaf people across the UK are affected.

Channel 4 confirmed full services may not be restored until next month (Picture: Channel 4)‘We consider a satisfactory resolution of these issues is now long overdue and needs to be addressed as a matter of the utmost urgency,’ the charity said.Mike Hobday, director of policy and campaigns at the National Deaf Children’s Society, added: ‘It’s simply unacceptable that Channel 4 is unable to provide subtitles for its viewers.

‘We’re hearing from numerous deaf children and young people who are deeply frustrated at not being able to watch their favourite programmes with their family and friends.’Mike said that if there was ‘no sound on TV, there would be a national outcry’, adding that ‘until recently, Channel 4 has been widely celebrated as a force for good in the disability sector, promoting and advancing disability awareness, equality and inclusion’.

‘However, the failure of its planning and the weakness of its response leaves us wondering whether accessibility remains a priority,’ he stated.A charity has called for regulatory action over the debacle (Picture: Jude Edginton)‘Reinstating subtitles quickly would mean the welcome return of programmes that have effectively been ‘off air’ to deaf people for weeks. It would also send the message that young deaf people are valued viewers too.’

Maia, a deaf 16-year-old from Sussex, said that she feels ‘frustrated’ that she is missing out on ‘vital moments’ on Channel 4 shows, including The Great British Bake Off, saying that she ‘can’t laugh at any of the jokes, let alone understand what is happening’.

Ride on, baby: NZ politician cycles to hospital to give birth – for the second time WHO 'bowed to China' by skipping letter when naming new Covid variant NY Gov Kathy Hochul declares state of emergency amid new COVID variant

An Ofcom spokesperson said that the watchdog shares the concerns expressed by the charity, ‘which are causing deep upset and frustration’.‘Channel 4 did not have strong back-up measures in place, and it should not have taken several weeks to provide a clear, public plan and timeline for fixing the problems,’ they said.

‘We have met Channel 4 to express our concerns and ensure it meets its timings for restoring subtitles, signing and audio description. We will then consider any further action.’On Tuesday this week, Channel 4 said that it had begun to trial new ways of reinstating subtitles on some of its shows, with subtitles being added to programmes including Bake Off and Gogglebox on its streaming platform.

Read more: Metro »

BBC Radio 4 - Woman's Hour, Actor Rose Ayling-Ellis in Strictly; Tracey Neville; Rape as a weapon of war; She-cession; Photographing Angela Merkel

Rose Ayling-Ellis and partner Giovanni Pernice danced in tribute to the deaf community.

Hardly any of the 4k stuff on sky has subtitles either. Yet the hd stuff does. Surely a copy and paste could be done 😖