Networks to include Auslan interpreter for broadcasts of public importance

Commercial Free to Air networks must strive to include an Auslan interpreter when broadcasting, matters of public importance, such as emergency broadcasts.

Free TV Australia has updated its Code of Practice:

Where an Auslan interpreter is present at a news conference, official briefing regarding an emergency, or a public announcement of critical national significance and other events, licensees will include the Auslan interpreter in the frame. While there may be exceptional circumstances where inclusion of an interpreter is not practicable, licensees will take all reasonable steps to ensure that interpreters are included in the camera shot and in a manner where they can be clearly seen. Licensees should ensure that all key employees are aware of and familiar with such guidelines.

FreeTV CEO Bridget Fair said, “FreeTV is pleased to have worked co-operatively with Deaf Australia to update the Code to better reflect the needs and interests of the deaf community. We appreciate the constructive engagement with Deaf Australia on this issue.

“FreeTV members understand the importance of accessibility of commercial free-to-air television to all Australians.

“These changes recognise that Auslan is a primary language for many deaf members of the community and will increase accessibility of the platform for those members.”


  1. If New Zealand FTA has regular audio description broadcasting, what excuse does Australian FTA have? None whatsoever! No doubt their respective spin machines have excuses ready to go, despite recent reductions in governmeng licence fees and cutting back on staff costs, they will still bleat they have no money, I call BS! Too busy instead feeding inflated TV sporting rights egos more like.

  2. mateo_mathieu

    About bloody time! Imagine you’re deaf and there’s TV in a shopping centre with no captions and an interpreter isn’t shown within the frame = discrimination.

  3. A very good improvement to accessibility of content but noticeably there is still no Audio Descriptive content on Australian FTA or STV (there is however on SVOD like Netflix). Also the Closed Captioning on FTA is only improving at a very slow snails pace. Surely FreeTV and ASTRA can be pushing for improvements to accessibility in all areas and not just emergency content.

      • I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks so. I’ve noticed slightly more CC on multichannels recently (hence my comment) but far from being where it should be. And in terms of STV, Foxtel are still lacking CC on the majority of on demand content (although live content is largely CC-ed which is fantastic).

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