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Channel 4 unable to provide subtitles until mid-November

A new statement by Channel 4 has confirmed that their subtitling system is not likely to be fixed before November.

The press release, published on 19 October, comes after two weeks of complaints from Hard of Hearing and Deaf viewers, who have been unable to watch any content due to lack of access services.

The statement says that the disruption was caused by an incident on 25 September which took place at the broadcast centre of Red Bee Media, who transmit all of Channel 4’s programming.

The incident involved a fire suppression system being triggered, which led to “a large number of hard disks in a variety of systems” being “severely damaged”. One of these systems handles all of Channel 4’s access services.

The lack of subtitles, audio description or sign language support on recent Channel 4 programs has been noticed by viewers and broadcasters alike.

One viewer said, via Twitter: “I honestly cannot tell you how badly this is affecting me at the moment and I am, hopefully, only temporarily deaf.”

The host of talk show The Last Leg, Adam Hills, called out Channel 4 during the show by holding up a sign which said ‘Sorry there’s still no subtitles’ followed by another, aimed at the broadcaster directly, saying ‘Sort it out’.

Channel 4 have said “We know that this is incredibly frustrating for you and your families who rely on these services to watch your favourite programmes.”

The Royal National Institute for Deaf People, or RNID, responded to Channel 4 with “This statement isn’t good enough.” and expressed that they “do not believe that [Channel 4] have communicated effectively with the deaf community.”

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January 2022
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