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Communications Act 2003

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Television services for the deaf and visually impairedE+W+S+N.I.

303Code relating to provision for the deaf and visually impairedE+W+S+N.I.

(1)It shall be the duty of OFCOM to draw up, and from time to time to review and revise, a code giving guidance as to—

(a)the extent to which the services to which this section applies should promote the understanding and enjoyment by—

(i)persons who are deaf or hard of hearing,

(ii)persons who are blind or partially-sighted, and

(iii)persons with a dual sensory impairment,

of the programmes to be included in such services; and

(b)the means by which such understanding and enjoyment should be promoted.

(2)The code must include provision for securing that every provider of a service to which this section applies ensures that adequate information about the assistance for disabled people that is provided in relation to that service is made available to those who are likely to want to make use of it.

(3)The code must also require that, from the fifth and tenth anniversaries of the relevant date, the obligations in subsections (4) and (5), respectively, must be fulfilled by reference to averages computed over each of the following—

(a)the twelve month period beginning with the anniversary in question; and

(b)every twelve month period ending one week after the end of the previous period for which an average fell to be computed.

(4)The obligation to be fulfilled from the fifth anniversary of the relevant date is that at least 60 per cent. of so much of every service which—

(a)is a service to which this section applies, and

(b)has a relevant date after the passing of this Act,

as consists of programmes that are not excluded programmes must be accompanied by subtitling.

(5)The obligations to be fulfilled from the tenth anniversary of the relevant date are—

(a)that at least 90 per cent. of so much of a Channel 3 service or of Channel 4 as consists of programmes that are not excluded programmes must be accompanied by subtitling;

(b)that at least 80 per cent. of so much of every other service to which this section applies as consists of programmes that are not excluded programmes must be accompanied by subtitling;

(c)that at least 10 per cent. of so much of every service to which this section applies as consists of programmes that are not excluded programmes must be accompanied by audio-description for the blind; and

(d)that at least 5 per cent. of so much of every service to which this section applies as consists of programmes that are not excluded programmes must be presented in, or translated into, sign language.

(6)A reference in subsection (4) or in any paragraph of subsection (5) to excluded programmes is a reference to programmes of the description for the time being set out under subsection (7) in relation to that subsection or paragraph and also in relation to the service in question.

(7)The code must set out, in relation to subsection (4) and each of the paragraphs of subsection (5), the descriptions of programmes that OFCOM consider should be excluded programmes for the purposes of the requirement contained in that subsection or paragraph.

(8)In complying with subsection (7), OFCOM must have regard, in particular, to—

(a)the extent of the benefit which would be conferred by the provision of assistance for disabled people in relation to the programmes;

(b)the size of the intended audience for the programmes;

(c)the number of persons who would be likely to benefit from the assistance and the extent of the likely benefit in each case;

(d)the extent to which members of the intended audience for the programmes are resident in places outside the United Kingdom;

(e)the technical difficulty of providing the assistance; and

(f)the cost, in the context of the matters mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (e), of providing the assistance.

(9)The exclusions that may be set out in the code under subsection (7)—

(a)may include different descriptions of programmes in relation to different services to which this section applies; and

(b)in the case of a service which OFCOM are satisfied (having regard to the matters mentioned in subsection (8)) is a special case, may include all the programmes included in the service.

(10)The requirements that may be imposed by the code include, in particular—

(a)requirements on persons providing services to which this section applies to meet interim targets falling within subsection (11), from dates falling before an anniversary mentioned in subsection (3);

(b)requirements on persons providing such services to meet further targets from dates falling after the anniversary mentioned in subsection (5); and

(c)requirements with respect to the provision of assistance for disabled people in relation to excluded programmes, or in relation to a particular description of them.

(11)The interim targets mentioned in subsection (10)(a) are the targets with respect to the provision of assistance for disabled people which OFCOM consider it appropriate to impose as targets on the way to meeting the targets imposed in pursuance of subsection (3).

(12)This section applies to the following services—

(a)S4C Digital or any other television programme service provided by the Welsh Authority for broadcasting in digital form so as to be available for reception by members of the public;

(b)any licensed public service channel;

(c)a digital television programme service but not an electronic programme guide;

(d)a television licensable content service but not an electronic programme guide;

(e)a restricted television service.

(13)In this section—

  • electronic programme guide” means a service which—

    (a)

    is or is included in a television licensable content service or a digital television programme service; and

    (b)

    consists of—

    (i)

    the listing or promotion, or both the listing and the promotion, of some or all of the programmes included in any one or more programme services the providers of which are or include persons other than the provider of the guide; and

    (ii)

    a facility for obtaining access, in whole or in part, to the programme service or services listed or promoted in the guide;

  • programme” does not include an advertisement.

304Procedure for issuing and revising code under s. 303E+W+S+N.I.

(1)Before drawing up a code under section 303 or reviewing or revising it in pursuance of that section, OFCOM must consult—

(a)such persons appearing to them to represent the interests of persons falling within subsection (1)(a)(i), (ii) or (iii) of that section as OFCOM think fit; and

(b)such persons providing services to which that section applies as OFCOM think fit.

(2)OFCOM must publish the code drawn up under section 303, and every revision of it, in such manner as, having regard to the need to make the code or revision accessible to—

(a)persons who are deaf or hard of hearing,

(b)persons who are blind or partially sighted, and

(c)persons with a dual sensory impairment,

they consider appropriate.

305Meaning of “relevant date” in s. 303E+W+S+N.I.

(1)In relation to a service, the relevant date for the purposes of section 303 is—

(a)in a case to which any of subsections (2) to (4) applies, the date given by that subsection; and

(b)in any other case, the date (whether before or after the passing of this Act) when the provision of that service began or begins.

(2)In the case of a service the provision of which began before the television transfer date but which is not—

(a)a service provided by the Welsh Authority,

(b)a licensed public service channel, or

(c)a digital television programme service,

the relevant date is the date of the coming into force of this section.

(3)In the case of—

(a)a Channel 3 service the provision of which began before the date of the passing of this Act, and

(b)Channel 4 and S4C Digital,

the relevant date is 1st January 2000.

(4)In the case of Channel 5, so far as it consists of a service the provision of which began before the date of the passing of this Act, the relevant date is 1st January 1998.

(5)OFCOM may determine that a service provided by a person is to be treated for the purposes of section 303 and this section as a continuation of a service previously provided by him.

306Power to modify targets in s. 303E+W+S+N.I.

(1)Where it appears to the Secretary of State, in the case of services of a particular description, that the obligation specified in section 303(4) has been or is likely to be fulfilled in their case before the anniversary so specified, he may by order modify section 303 so as to do one or both of the following—

(a)increase the percentage so specified in relation to services of that description;

(b)substitute a different anniversary for the anniversary by which that obligation must be fulfilled in the case of such services.

(2)The Secretary of State may by order modify section 303 so as to do one or both of the following—

(a)substitute a later anniversary for the anniversary by which the obligations specified in subsection (5) of that section must be fulfilled;

(b)substitute a higher percentage for the percentage for the time being specified in any paragraph of that subsection.

(3)The provision that may be made by an order under this section includes—

(a)modifications for requiring the code to set out additional obligations to be fulfilled once the obligations previously required to be set out in the code have been fulfilled; and

(b)savings for the obligations previously set out in the code.

(4)Before making an order under this section the Secretary of State must consult OFCOM.

(5)No order is to be made containing provision authorised by this section unless a draft of the order has been laid before Parliament and approved by a resolution of each House.

307Observance of code under s. 303E+W+S+N.I.

(1)The regulatory regime for every service to which this section applies includes the conditions that OFCOM consider appropriate for securing that the code maintained by them under section 303 is observed in the provision of those services.

(2)This section applies to every service to which section 303 applies which is licensed by a Broadcasting Act licence.

308Assistance for the visually impaired with the public teletext serviceE+W+S+N.I.

The regulatory regime for the public teletext service includes the conditions that OFCOM consider appropriate for securing, so far as it is reasonable and practicable, by the inclusion of features in that service, to do so, that persons with disabilities affecting their sight are able to make use of the service.

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