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Last Updated: Monday, 22 December, 2003, 14:36 GMT
Ofcom plans increased subtitling
Ofcom replaces five watchdogs
New broadcasting watchdog Ofcom has said more channels should have signing, subtitles and audio description.

In proposals, Ofcom said about 50 TV channels should provide so-called television access services.

The watchdog said the channels would be required to meet interim targets rising progressively to meet 10-year targets.

Ofcom's Tim Suter said: "We want to ensure a much wider range of television services is available to people with visual and hearing difficulties."

The draft proposals would require all channels with a certain audience share to provide television access services.


There are exemptions if it was seen as unaffordable, or if technical or other difficulties made it impracticable to provide the services.

Consulations on the proposals will end in March 2004.

Mr Suter, the partner for content and standards, said: "Many broadcasters have already made significant steps towards meeting their needs and the draft code seeks to build on this progress.

"We want to make sure that the code strikes the right balance between delivering real benefits, and imposing obligations on broadcasters that are realistic and achievable."

Ofcoms replaces five watchogs, including the Independent Television Commision, and takes up its role on 29 December.

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