Copyright Rights? Broadcast Rights? What of Human Rights?

Able are broadcasting live captions for the extended TVNZ One News midday broadcast of the All Blacks homecoming. I should feel ‘happy’.

Instead I feel mad.

TVNZ – still the only New Zealander broadcaster with the technical capability to support live captioning.

The All Blacks arrived at Auckland Airport this morning. Breakfast television and many kiwis were there to meet them. No captions.

No captions on breakfast TV news or chat show on any channel. No captions on the social media clips, or news website videos that replay throughout the day.

No captions broadcast for any Rugby World Cup Game. NOT ONE. No live coverage, no delayed coverage. No man of the match commentary with captions. Nothing.

Whether we like it or not the rugby has dominated the NZ news media – linear TV, print, social, free to air, subscription TV, live streams, on demand, for the last 6 weeks.

Broadcasters have taken shots at companies that have tried to circumvent traditional broadcast mechanisms. They cite copyright and territorial broadcast rights.

What of Human Rights? Deaf & Hard of Hearing New Zealanders have rights too.

Do these same broadcasters make their content accessible with captions / subtitles like their overseas colleagues are required to do by law? I loose track of the number of times people have said to me, “install a VPN, geo block, connect to ITV, problem solved”.

I don’t want morsels of New Zealand television captioned, like it is an act of charity for which I should feel ‘grateful’. Some linear TV channels (yes I know its retro) have no captioning whatsover. No TV on demand service has them. Only Netflix offers captioning.

I’ve listened to the rhetoric & the captioning excuses from many angles for several years. And today, I feel mad.

I’m calling on politicians of all parties to take a leadership position. Sign the captioning petition. Make accessibility important. Require Broadcasters to be accountable for captioning. I’m sure broadcast rights matters. But you know what? Inclusion and Human Rights matter too.

Helen MacKay

PS Able do a great job with the resources made available to them. Thanks for captioning the midday OneNews special.

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