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Deaf & Hard of Hearing New Zealanders left guessing

Howzat been allowed to happen?

Deaf & Hard of Hearing New Zealanders left guessing with Cricket World Cup Coverage

It’s billed as one of the biggest sporting events in the world and heralded as great for Godzone.

And let’s face it, after the cracking result by the Black Caps against England, it is hard not to get caught up in cricket fever.

But spare a thought for the 1 in 6 New Zealanders that are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, as following the tournament will require some significant guess work on their part. The TV coverage does not include closed captioning when broadcast by Sky New Zealand on either the Sky Sport channels or Sky owned free broadcaster Prime.

When Australia and New Zealand battle it out at Eden Park on Saturday, Australian TV viewers will be able to watch the game with closed captioning but not the well deserving Kiwis.

So howzat been allowed to happen? Simply, though both are sporting mad nations,
Australia has legislation in place to require broadcast captioned coverage. New Zealand does not.

Research shows that until legislation is enacted, Broadcasters will not introduce a reasonable rate of captioning.

As members of the Captioning Working Group, The National Foundation for the Deaf, Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand and the Hearing Association New Zealand call for the introduction of legislation requiring broadcast captioning of free to air and subscription television and OnDemand services.

In Australia following the advent of legislation, captioning levels have increased significantly. Several broadcasters in Australia routinely exceed set targets. New Zealand has no such requirement in place and captioning is at the mercy of New Zealand on Air funding or an individual broadcasters captioning ability or choice.

Louise Carroll, Chair of the Captioning Working Group and CEO of The National
Foundation for the Deaf says "It really is imperative that the New Zealand Government step in and introduce the mandatory requirement to apply captioning in the Broadcasting Act and the Telecommunications Act. Other countries, such as Australia, United Kingdom and the United States who are also at the forefront of the digital revolution legislated for captioning a considerable time ago. New Zealand should be doing the same. The ongoing debate between broadcasters and New Zealand on Air about who should pay for captioning and associated equipment should be put to rest with this legislation.”

In the meantime without commitment from individual Broadcasters and the government electing to ‘encourage’ captioning rather than legislate for it, just as was for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Hard of Hearing & Deaf New Zealanders are left guessing.

This then begs the question: will there be captioning in time for Rio 2016?

We wish the Black Caps all the best in the Cricket World Cup however, please consider our appeal for captioning so the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities can access this wonderful display of the worlds cricket best Howzat!


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