Accessibility of television programmes: report by French CSA

posted on 30 May, 2018   (public)

CSA continues its work to encourage  accessibility of programmes and of audiovisual sector in general

On 29 May 2018, the French CSA published its annual report on Accessibility of television programmes and the portrayal of disabled persons on-air, which provides an overview of the actions taken by the regulator in this area.

Among the main findings of the regulator in 2017:

  • Subtitling: all channels complied with their obligations. This applies both to private channels, whose national audience exceeds 2.5% of the total audience and are obliged to subtitle all their programmes, but also to private channels whose national audience does not exceed this threshold but who have concluded an agreement with the CSA setting the proportions of accessible programmes. However, the Council notes that the annual volume of programmes subtitled has fallen considerably for eight out of eleven channels, with only M6 and W9 increasing their annual volumes.
  • Audiodescription: public and private television channels, whose national audience exceeds 2.5% of the total audience for television services, must include in their agreements some proportions of programmes accessible to blind or partially sighted persons, particularly during peak times. According to the reporting, all the channels have complied with the obligations imposed on them.
  • French Sign Language: there is no obligation to translate programmes into French Sign Language (LSF) apart from the specific commitments of the news channels. The Council notes with satisfaction that BFMTV and franceinfo broadcast a volume of programmes interpreted in LSF greater than or equal to that of the previous financial year. However, it notes a decrease of about eight hours compared to last year for LCI and of almost five hours for Cnews. France Télévisions translated into French Sign Language important moments of democratic life in 2017 such as the presidential and legislative elections.
  • Accessibility of programmes on on-demand audiovisual media services (VOD): VOD providers are not required to make their programmes accessible and currently the majority of channels do not offer any accessible content on their main VOD. However, the CSA encourages them to do so. Out of the nine groups interviewed, three reported that they offer accessible content: France Télévisions, M6 and Lagardère.
  • On-screen representation of disabled people: one of the CSA's missions is to contribute to the fight against discrimination and to ensure that programming reflects the diversity of French society. The results of the diversity barometer show that in 2017 disability is poorly represented on television (only 0.6% of the total number of people indexed are perceived as disabled). The conclusion is that disability does not seem to be considered as telegenic or is difficult to reflect in the media. The Council is persevering in its efforts to change this. 
  • The inclusion of disabled persons in the teams of audiovisual companies: even if the direct employment rate of people with disabilities, set at 6% of the total workforce, is rarely achieved in audiovisual companies, the CSA noted that many efforts have been made by television channels and radio stations, most of which have implemented an internal action plan on disability.

In this context, in 2018 the CSA plans, inter alia, to draft a charter on the representation of disability in the audiovisual media which will aim to develop a glossary of good terms to be used in the context of disability and in order to avoid hurtful remarks.

Another objective for the CSA will be to encourage providers, as part of their diversity commitments, to define progress objectives to improve the presence of disabled people on their channels, taking as a basis for progress the results they obtain within the framework of the diversity barometer.

Source: Website of the French CSA