Borders MP Calum Kerr is backing a campaign by the charity Action on Hearing Loss Scotland calling for more and better subtitles for viewers who are deaf or have hearing loss.
These problems affect one in six people in Mr Kerr’s Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk constituency. Accurate and well timed subtitles are vital to help deaf or hard of hearing people follow what is being said on television programmes and movies as well as public information videos.
The charity’s Subtitle It! campaigners want to achieve equal access to television and movies – whether through digital, on-demand or new media services – for these viewers.
Mr Kerr said: “The way TV is watched has transformed over recent years – but far too many viewers who are deaf or have hearing loss are missing out on enjoying the latest shows because so few programmes on Video on Demand services and digital channels in Scotland are subtitled.
“I’m backing the Subtitle It! campaign which is encouraging broadcasters and Video On Demand providers to ensure people who are deaf or hard of hearing can use accurate subtitles, which are synchronised with speech, on everything that they watch.”
Delia Henry, Director of Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, said: “The lack of subtitles is a major issue for our members. As technology has advanced, the ways in which we watch television programmes has changed, but, unfortunately, people who are deaf or have hearing loss are being left behind.
“We’re delighted to have Calum’s backing for our campaign. Just a fraction of on-demand content is subtitled and some local digital television channels don’t provide them at all.
“We want a substantial improvement in the provision of subtitles to enable people who are deaf or hard of hearing to have equal access to their favourite shows like everyone else.”
For information about Action on Hearing Loss’s Subtitle It! campaign, visit www.actionhearingloss.org.uk/subtitleit