An Open Letter to the NZ Government Minister for Broadcasting. “….there is no alternative programme available to access vital national and international news and information.”

Louise Carroll QSO, JP, GDPPA, MPA
Captioning Working Group

11 April 2014

The Hon Craig Foss
Minister for Broadcasting
Parliament Buildings

CC: Rt Hon John Key
Prime Minister

Dear Minister Foss

As you know, the Captioning Working Group consists of executive representatives from The National Foundation for the Deaf, Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand and the Hearing Association New Zealand as our organisations recognize the need for, and are working collaboratively to achieve, 100% broadcast captioning in New Zealand.

On Friday evening, 11 April 2014, there was a complete failure in the captioning of the 6pm evening news as broadcast on Television One.

The Captioning Working Group has received numerous complaints about this failure. This is because, when captioning of the only 6pm television news programme in New Zealand fails, there is no alternative broadcast programme available for people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing to access vital national and international news and information.

This failure, whether through human error or technology failure, specifically highlights how dependent the Deaf and Hard of Hearing sectors are on the provision of this service
to be up to date and socially integrated. Surely, you can see how unacceptable the current situation is for our sectors?

We ask again Minister if you will please lead the way on behalf of the 1:6 New Zealanders with some type of hearing loss and initiate the inclusion of a clause in the Broadcasting Act requiring all broadcasters to apply mandatory captioning to their programmes. Australia has done it very successfully and now we ask you to show leadership and do the same here in New Zealand.

We are very happy to assist and support you in this endeavor and look forward to hearing back from you.


Louise Carroll
Captioning Working Group
e-Mail: [email protected]

Note: This letter is in response to the lack of captioning on TVOne on Friday night, and has also been posted to Minister.

See an Index of all our Captioning Blogs here.

3 Comments Added

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  1. Lynne Harvey April 13, 2014 | Reply
    Hi subtitle are the most important for all nz deaf people to have it all programme are must !! As myself as a child watching tv blah blah not understand what say so I ask my parent ? So they say shhh tell u later but never happened I get annoyed for years with whole world question mark in my head ? When subtle finally arrive and put me smile and read thru and improved English too and know what happening in our planet so just image you guy plug your ear and watch tv do u understand ? What wrong u guys bring back tv licence to get this subtitle going for NZ deaf people happy face with tears and laughed !!
  2. Robyn April 14, 2014 | Reply
    I agree Lynne - whenever I used to watch something without captions as a child, I only got about 10% of understanding. I ended up making up my own story-line. Technology is here, there is absolutely NO reason why it can't be done for all TV programmes.
  3. Pingback: Index of CaptionitNZ Blog. | We Need Words August 24, 2014

    […] 13. An Open Letter to the NZ Government Minister for Broadcasting. “…there is no alternative progra… […]

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