Shows missing TV captions

Media watchdog finds Home & Away and Joanna Lumley’s Silk Road Adventure were both missing required captions.

ABC and Seven have breached rules of the Broadcasting Services Act for failing to supply captions on 2 occasions late last year.

Networks must provide a captioning service for primary channel programs transmitted between 6 am and midnight for deaf and hearing impaired viewers.

Home & Away episode lacked captions for 9 minutes in November.

Seven told the Australian Communications and Media Authority, the captioning outage was caused by one server within the caption system suffering from overheating due to slow fan speed. There was no evidence to suggest that other factors, such as human error, played a role.

Seven indicates hat it had taken action to prevent the same fault from happening again, including replacing fans, introducing a daily 1 am check of the captioning system (in addition to the daily 8 am check) and scheduling replacement of the entire captioning system in May 2019.

Meanwhile an episode of Joanna Lumley’s Silk Road Adventure on ABC also lacked captions.

ABC conceded that: “…the footage is uncaptioned. The broadcast which commenced in the eastern States at 19:40 on 7 October was unfortunately impacted by technical issues resulting in the program airing without captions.”

It added, “The incident was not a result of human negligence, rather it was the unforeseen outcome of a workflow implemented to workaround a significant technical issue ….”

ABC stated it had taken action to prevent the fault from happening again.

“ABC and (the broadcast centre) operators now perform additional manual checks on the day of broadcast to ensure that no content has moved to (the broadcast centre) prematurely or start times have changed during their checking processes. In addition, ABC and (the broadcast centre) staff have been trained to understand and implement workflows to ensure in the unlikely event this occurs again, there is the ability to attach a caption file mid-program,” it said in a statement.

“Moving forward, the ABC is looking to upgrade its internal technologies for content movement in order to make improved protocols for captioning deliveries to (the broadcast centre) from the ABC and our captioning supplier.”

In December ACMA found captioned programs made up 99.64 per cent of the total hours of all non-exempt programs.

2 Responses

  1. I visited someone the Saturday after the Christchurch massacre. Turkish News was on. The NZ video was on a loop for the entire 30 mins, together with a lengthy address by the Turkish PM. I had no idea what he was saying and turned out to be quite different to what I assumed – was Aka propaganda rant threatening Australia and NZ. Seems SBS gets around the news captioning rule by airing foreign news on its ” multi-channel”. Also means ABC News (24) only need to caption when they feel like it.

  2. Though captioning and subtitling are different in regards to transcription and translation, I think it should also be necessary for SBS and SBS Viceland to provide subtitles for foreign news bulletins. In the past, the reasons that were given for not subtitling foreign news were lack of resources and timeframes. However, as the foreign content is broadcast from a government source, it should be required for there to be English translation in the form of subtitles, as per government standards. English is considered to be the de facto national language of Australia.

    Foreign news subtitles would also be highly beneficial for cross-cultural purposes, such as social inclusion, foreign affairs and relations, foreign language learning and multilingualism, as well as foreign and international prospects.

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