The National Broadcasting Council's Office
Skwer kard. S. Wyszyńskiego 9, 01-015 Warsaw, Poland
tel: ( 48 22) 597 3000, fax (48 22) 597 3180
In accrordance with the law amending the Broadcasting Act of 22 March 2018 (Journal of Laws of 16 May 2018, item 915), January 2019 marks the beginning of the first phase of a significant increase in the provision of access services for persons with disabilities in television programmes in the quarterly transmission period. KRRiT's Executive Regulation will therefore enter into force on 1 January 2019.
The amended Broadcasting Act provides that the total share of television programmes with access services for persons with disabilities in 2019 will be at least 15% of the quarterly transmission time excluding advertising and teleshopping (it is currently at least 10%); in the years 2020-2021 it will be at least 25% respectively, in the years 2022-2023 – at least 35%, and in 2024 – at least 50% of the quarterly transmission time. In addition, in accordance with the above law, in 2025 the Chairman of KRRiT shall present the Sejm, the Senate and the minister responsible for culture and national heritage with information on the extent to which broadcasters have met the obligations to increase the provision of access services for persons with disabilities, and on the possibility of further increasing the level of those services in the quarterly transmission time.
The law also imposed on KRRiT the obligation to issue a regulation defining the relevant areas related to the practical implementation of the increase in the provision of access services in subsequent years. KRRiT issued this Regulation on 15 November 2018, and it was published in the Journal of Laws on 4 December 2018 (item 2261).
The KRRiT Regulation in question determines the following areas:
1) Types of access service for persons with disabilities: the definitions of closed captioning for the hearing-impaired, audio description and visual signing are provided in §2 of the Regulation.
2) The share of a given access service in the total transmission time, depending on the broadcast time, and the nature and type of programmes which predominate. For the target year of 2024, when the total share of television programmes with access services for persons with disabilities shall be at least 50% of the quarterly transmission time excluding advertising and teleshopping, the National Council has adopted the following breakdown for each type of service as the basic principle:
· at least 40% subtitles for the deaf;
· at least 7% audio description;
· at least 3% visual signing.
From 2024 on, the above-mentioned share of these three types of service (i.e. closed captioning, audio description and visual signing) shall apply to universal and specialist programming, other than programmes of a predominantly news or current affairs nature, film programmes, programmes of a predominantly socio-religious nature, or programmes aimed at children.
For the years 2019-2023, the National Broadcasting Council has decreased the above ratio between the various types of access service respectively, taking into account the fact that in accordance with the Broadcasting Act the total share of programmes with access services in 2019 shall be at least 15%, in 2020 and 2021 – at least 25%, and in 2022 and 2023 – at least 35%.
The shares for the particular types of access service in the above-mentioned programming, broken down for the years 2019-2024, are set out in §4 of the Regulation.
For specialised programming, containing at least 50% news or current affairs programmes, or at least 50% feature films, or at least 50% programmes for children, or at least 50% socio-religious programmes, the National Council set the ratio between the three types of access services, depending on the nature of the programme and taking into account the fact that the sum of these services in the target year of 2024 in each of the listed programme profiles should be at least 50%, for the years from 2019-2023 of at least: 15%, 25% and 35%, respectively.
The shares for the particular types of access service in the above-mentioned programming are set out in §3 of the Regulation.
In connection with the statutory authorisation concerning the share of access services for persons with disabilities depending on the broadcast time, the National Broadcasting Council acknowledges with understanding the expectations of disabled persons’ groups that programmes with access services should be broadcast mainly during the daytime. On the other hand, KRRiT takes into account the limited capabilities of the broadcasters, who are obliged under the Broadcasting Act to increase in a systematic and significant way the share of access services in the years 2019-2024.
While taking into account the specific characteristics and flexibility of programming (e.g. direct sports broadcasts from the USA and gala events such as the Academy Awards are broadcast during the night-time, and not including access services in the programmes broadcast at that time would deter broadcasters from using them), the National Council determined in §11 of the Regulation that programmes with access services should be broadcast between 5 a.m. and 3 a.m. [the next day], thereby decreasing the currently allowed all-day transmission of this type of programming by two hours.
3) Reduced share of the particular types of access service due to the following criteria:
· the means of broadcasting and the number of inhabitants who can receive the programme: reducing by more than half (i.e. to 13% in the target year of 2024) the share of access services in local terrestrial programming: see §5 of the Regulation;
· specialised programmes – reducing by half (i.e. to 25% in the target year of 2024) the share of access services in music programmes: see §6 of the Regulation;
· the programme’s audience share - reducing by half (i.e. to 25% in the target year of 2024) the share of access services for universal and specialised programmes whose audience share does not exceed 1%, calculated as the average of the previous yearX (reducing the share of access services due to audience share does not apply to programmes aimed at children due to the specificity of the target group): see §7 and §8 of the Regulation.
§9 of the Regulation stipulates that a programme which meets more than one criterion for reducing the share of access services may apply only one type of reduction in this respect.
4) Types of programme for which broadcasters are not required to provide access services for persons with disabilities on the basis of the number of inhabitants who can receive the programme. Exemptions shall apply to programmes transmitted via cable networks in which the number of inhabitants who can receive the programme does not exceed 500,000, with this number understood as the number of cable network subscribers. We also advise that exemptions shall apply solely to programmes transmitted via cable networks and not retransmitted over said networks.
The provision regarding exemptions from the obligation to provide access services is contained in §10 of the Regulation.
5) Methods of informing audiences about the date, broadcast time and duration of programmes containing access services for persons with disabilities, and the type of service. These methods shall be understood as joint, [and] they are listed in §12 of the Regulation.
Any questions concerning the KRRiT Regulation of 15 November 2018 concerning access services for persons with disabilities related to visual impairment and for persons with disabilities related to hearing impairment can be sent to the email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
X For the purposes of applying the reduced share of access services in the quarterly transmission time excluding advertising and teleshopping, the National Council shall take into account the average audience share of the programme from the previous year. These shares shall be published on the KRRiT website by 31 January of the following year.