Statement: Listed Events - 2022 and 2024 Paralympic Games
- Start: 14 January 2022
- Status: Statement published
- End: 11 February 2022
Statement published 2 March 2022
We consulted between 14 January and 11 February 2022 on a request from the Channel 4 Corporation (‘C4C’) to broadcast exclusive live coverage of the Paralympic Games in 2022 and 2024.
The Paralympic Games are designated as listed events for the purposes of the listed events rules. The listed events rules are intended to ensure that certain events of national interest are available to view live, and for free, by the widest possible audience. The rules are established in the Broadcasting Act 1996 and require (among other things) that broadcasters obtain Ofcom’s consent to broadcast exclusive live television coverage of listed events.
C4C has acquired exclusive rights to broadcast the 2022 and 2024 Paralympic Games. As required by the 1996 Act, they requested our consent to broadcast live coverage of the 2022 Paralympic Games on Channel 4, and live coverage of the 2024 Paralympic Games on Channel 4 and More 4. Our consultation set out that we were provisionally minded to grant consent.
Ofcom received one response to the consultation, from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (‘RNIB’). RNIB set out their concerns about the accessibility of C4C’s Paralympics coverage to blind and partially sighted people, stating that previous coverage of the Winter Paralympics Games have only included audio description for highlights programmes and not for live coverage. They also argued that as the Paralympic Games celebrate the strengths of people with disabilities, they are of special interest to blind and partially sighted people (and indeed other viewers with disabilities).
Ofcom acknowledges the importance of the points raised by RNIB. We asked C4C to provide details of their accessibility plans for the 2022 and 2024 Paralympic Games. In relation to audio description, C4C confirmed that for the 2022 Winter Paralympic Games audio description services would be included for highlights programming, but not live coverage. They said this was consistent with provision for previous Winter Paralympic Games, and that they had provided more audio described coverage at Summer Paralympic Games. C4C have said they will clearly advertise to audiences who rely on access services which services are available where and when. Details on all access services available for the 2022 Winter Paralympic Games can also be found on the Channel 4 website. Regarding the 2024 Summer Paralympic Games in Paris, C4C said they are committed to covering the Games in the most accessible and innovative way.
The listed events regime is principally concerned with the way broadcast rights are acquired and ensuring their availability to as many people as possible. Ofcom has separate functions relating to the provision of television access services and promoting the understanding and enjoyment of programmes by people with disabilities. We will work with C4C ahead of the 2024 Paralympic Games to encourage the provision of greater accessibility, including for blind and partially sighted people. We will also consider whether to include more detailed advice in the forthcoming review of our best practice guidelines (PDF, 174.3 KB).
We have concluded that as C4C’s coverage plans secure that the 2022 and 2024 Paralympics Games are available to view live and for free by audiences across the UK we will grant consent to C4C’s exclusive live coverage.
Ofcom has received a request from Channel 4 for consent to broadcast exclusive live coverage of the 2022 Winter Paralympic Games in Beijing and the 2024 Summer Paralympic Games in Paris (‘the Paralympic Games’).
The 2022 Paralympic Games in Beijing will occur largely overnight for a UK audience. As such, Channel 4 intends to broadcast live coverage of the 2022 Paralympic Games overnight on the Channel 4 service, with highlights from the night’s events shown on Channel 4 the next day. Channel 4 intends to broadcast live coverage of the 2024 Paralympic Games on Channel 4 and More 4.
In 2020, the UK Government designated the Paralympic Games as a Group A Listed Event for the purposes of the Broadcasting Act 1996. In accordance with section 101 of the Act, Ofcom’s consent is therefore needed to broadcast exclusive live television coverage of the 2022 and 2024 Paralympic Games. The process by which consent is decided is set out in the Code on Sports and Other Listed and Designated Events.
This consultation provides an opportunity for interested parties to comment on Channel 4’s request before Ofcom decides whether to grant consent.
Responding to this consultation
Please submit responses using the consultation response form (ODT, 48.4 KB).