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Deaf And Hard of Hearing New Zealanders Marginalised

Deaf And Hard of Hearing New Zealanders Marginalised

Imagine if you could not access vital news and information. What would you do?

At 6pm on Friday evening, 11 April 2014, this occurred as there was a total failure in the captioning of the 6pm evening news as broadcast on TVNZ’s Television One.

What does this mean for New Zealanders who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing?
1 in 6 New Zealanders who experience some type of hearing loss were isolated from obtaining key news update. This large group of New Zealanders who need to, or will benefit from, using captioning to augment their ability to understand words spoken on broadcast mediums such at television were marginalised. The Deaf and Hard of Hearing sectors are dependent upon the provision of this news service to be up to date and socially integrated with what is happening around New Zealand and abroad.

Do you think this is acceptable?
The Captioning Working Group, a high level working group with membership from the Executives of The National Foundation for the Deaf, Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand and Hearing Association New Zealand, is calling for the Ministry of Broadcasting to include a clause in the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Act requiring all broadcasters to apply mandatory captioning to their programmes.

As reported in the 2013 Captioning Working Group Survey, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing sectors, are calling for captioning on Prime television, morning news and events on Breakfast television, the news on TV3, Documentaries, and TV on Demand. These are top priority programmes that the sectors need to have captioned.

Only 23% of programmes on television each week are captioned which compares very poorly to other western countries that have legislation such as the UK and the US who have achieved 100% captioning of public television.

There is no excuse for doing less for New Zealanders who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing and as a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities our Government is obliged to apply Article 9, which states:

“To enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life, States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to”…information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems…. These measures, which shall include the identification and elimination of obstacles and barriers to accessibility, shall apply to, inter alia…b) Information, communications and other services, including electronic services and emergency services.


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