Broadcasters

Australians have access to free and subscription television broadcasting i.e. via Channel 7, Nine, Ten, SBS, ABC, and Foxtel. It is important to ensure television broadcasting during emergency situations is accessible for Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing people. In recent years, the provision of Auslan interpreters for emergency broadcasts have become common practice. ASTRA and FreeTV have amended their advice to emergency broadcasters that outlines the inclusion of Auslan interpreters in the frame of emergency broadcasts wherever possible.

ASTRA Subscription Media Australia - Broadcast of Emergency Information

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Television plays an important role in supporting the communication of emergency warnings.

Emergency warnings requirements apply subscription television licensees.

The Broadcasting Services Act 1992 requires that if a broadcaster, at the request of an emergency service agency, transmits an emergency service warning on any of its television broadcasting services, the broadcaster must:

a) Transmit the whole of the warning in:
i) The form of text; and
ii) The form of speech; and

b) If it is reasonably practicable to do so—provide a captioning service for the emergency warning.

Emergency warnings must be provided in text – the intention of the legislation as it relates to captioning is to also require, where possible, the captioning of associated verbal commentary.

Where an Auslan interpreter is present at a news conference or official briefing regarding an emergency, subscription television licensees will include the Auslan interpreter in frame where it is practicable to do so.

FreeTV Australia - ADVISORY NOTE BROADCAST OF EMERGENCY INFORMATION 

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Licensees should have in place adequate procedures to enable the timely and accurate broadcast of emergency information to the licensed community.

Emergencies are in general regarded as situations in which there is an imminent or actual threat within the community, whereby life or property are at risk and which requires a significant and coordinated response by emergency or essential service organisations.

A number of emergency and essential service organisations will be relevant for each licence area. As a general guide, emergency or essential service organisations include Police, Fire, Rural Fire, Ambulance, State Emergency Service (SES), Water, Port or Health Authorities and the Bureau of Meteorology. The licensee and appropriate emergency or essential service organisations in the licence area should jointly identify, develop and maintain effective lines of communication.

A licence area may have an Emergency Management Committee/Counter Disaster Council or equivalent organisation formed under State/Territory legislation, which is responsible for issuing guidelines to identify key emergency organisations and procedures for broadcasting emergency information. If such committees/councils exist, the licensee should become familiar with such guidelines and procedures.

Licensees should:

  • consult with appropriate emergency and essential service organisations within the licensed area and implement internal procedures to enable the timely and accurate broadcast of warnings and information supplied by such organisations relating to an existing or threatened emergency; and
  • ensure a designated person within the licence area served is identified as the contact officer during business and non-business hours for all emergency matters.

Licensees should review and, where necessary, update procedures regularly in consultation with the appropriate emergency and essential service organisations.

Where an Auslan interpreter is present at a news conference or official briefing regarding an emergency, licensees will include the Auslan interpreter in frame where it is practicable to do so.

Licensees should ensure that all key employees are aware of and familiar with such guidelines.