RNIB and Audio Description

John Leech MP at the Royal National Institute of Blind People reception

This afternoon I supported an event held in Parliament by Royal National Institute of Blind people (RNIB) about extending audio description (AD). AD is an additional commentary that describes action, body language and movement that someone with sight loss would miss. It’s available on digital TV, on DVDs, in the cinema, at galleries and museums and even major sporting venues and exhibition centres.
At the moment the Communications Act 2003 only requires 10% of TV programmes to be audio described, which limits access to people with sight loss. In 2006 Ofcom concluded that they could not recommend an increase to the 10% target for programmes with AD, but after much campaigning from RNIB Ofcom repeated their Access Service Review, and this is likely to recommend increasing AD to 20%.
The event in Parliament this afternoon was to raise support from politicians to ensure that if Ofcom do recommend an increase, that the necessary change to the legislation will be implemented after the General Election. I’m certainly committed to it, and the Lib Dems will support the change in legislation to make sure that we increase TV access for the blind and partially-sighted.

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