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For The Blind, A Word Is Worth A Thousand Pictures

Media Release From The Association Of Blind Citizens Of New Zealand

For The Blind, A Word Is Worth A Thousand Pictures

Monday 15 July 2002

Just as the sound of television is captioned for the deaf, so the pictures on television need to be described to the blind, according to the Association of Blind Citizens of New Zealand.

It's President, Vaughan Dodd, said that audio description of some prime time television content is now the law in the United States, and it is being introduced in other countries.

"Television is an important social and cultural medium. When we are denied full access to it, we are denied access to a major agent of influence and change in our society."

Mr Dodd said that until recently, the television system used in New Zealand made the introduction of audio description of television programmes technically difficult.

"Clearly audio description needs to be a feature you can turn on and off, as with captioning. Now that we have digital TV platforms, all that is possible. We believe it's time that New Zealand On Air and the Government treated this issue with the same sense of commitment that they have captioning for the deaf. It's only fair."

In the United States, television is described by trained professionals who insert their descriptions between the dialogue so as not to interfere with the existing sound track of the show.

This week, the Association will be demonstrating audio described television at a function in Wellington.

Media inquiries about attending this function are welcome.


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