null Opinions invited on amendment to the Decree on Television and Radio Operations

Opinions invited on amendment to the Decree on Television and Radio Operations

Press release 01.04.2020 08.40 fi sv en

A man is filming a live broadcast (Photo: Shutterstock)

The Ministry of Transport and Communications has launched a legislative project to postpone the start of the subtitling obligation for live television broadcasts until 1 January 2021. On 25 March 2020, the Ministry sent a draft decree on the matter for comments.

The provisions on subtitling of television broadcasts are laid down in the Act on Electronic Communications Services and the Government Decree on Television and Radio Operations.A temporary exemption contained in the current decree, according to which live broadcasts can be sent with subtitles only in connection with a retransmission is valid until 1 June 2020. After this, all live television broadcasts covered by the subtitling obligation, excluding sports and music broadcasts, shall be broadcast with subtitles.

According to law, of the Finnish media companies the Finnish Broadcasting Company has a 100% subtitling obligation, while the obligation of Nelonen and MTV is 75%.

The decree will be reviewed again in autumn 2020 following the entry into force of amendments to the Act on Electronic Communications Services. In connection with the Act’s entry into force, it is natural to reassess the subtitling obligation of live broadcasts as well. The subtitling obligation could enter into force gradually, for example. The aim is to improve the availability of live subtitles in a controlled manner.

Postponing the entry into force of the subtitling obligation would give television broadcasters more time to implement a high-quality subtitling service and would offset the costs arising from it. At the moment, it is not technically possible to provide subtitles for all live broadcasts.

“It is important that media operators are obliged to increase the accessibility of their services. It promotes pluralism in communications with regard to the special groups. High-quality subtitling improves the everyday lives of people with hearing impairments, for example. That’s why it is important that the means to improve the subtitling of live broadcasts will be assessed in the course of this year,” says Minister of Transport and Communications Timo Harakka.

What are the next steps?

The deadline for comments on the amendment to the Decree on Television and Radio Operations is 17 April 2020. The request for comments is available online at www.lausuntopalvelu.fi.

Comments may be submitted by all organisations and private individuals.

Following the consultation round, the preparations for amending the Decree will continue by Ministry officials. The aim is that the reform will enter into force on 2 June 2020.

Inquiries:

Päivi-Maria Virta, Chief Specialist, tel. +358 295 34 2185

Elina Thorström, Director of Unit, tel. +358 295 34 2393