Legislating for Captioning is about Choice. “Captioned Programmes that are repeated are a big deal especially when there is a huge lack of captioned content in the first place”
Able, NZ on Air, and the Minister of Broadcasting, Craig Foss, are all saying that we have over 250 hours of captioning per week. Jonathan Coleman even said, how much more TV could you possibly want to watch as we there’s not that many hours in any week for one person to possibly watch.
I say to these people, it’s not about the hours, it’s about choice. We just want the same choice that others get. Hearing people have more than 1232 hours a week to watch anything they like, so when you put that 250 hours a week captioned next to the 1232, then we can only see a fifth of what others can watch. Then when you add repeats into the mix, this nearly halves. So lets see this in a bright colourful graph.
Firstly – the percentage of TV captioned, out of free-to-air television available. Note that white space above the coloured graphs all the way up to the 100 line? That white space represents all the content available that we can’t watch because it isn’t captioned. A huge space in comparison of what is available.
Now lets take a look at the repeats. The Blue part of the bar represents all the repeats, and the red, the non repeats. It varies a little from month to month but it clearly shows that the repeats are nearly half. “But Hearing People have to watch the repeats too”, I hear you cry. It’s not the same though. A hearing person can switch channels to watch any other programme amongst all that white space on the graph above. A deaf person can only switch to something that is captioned. Only within that coloured part on the graph above. And because nearly 50% of those are repeats, then the chances are that they can only watch something what they have already watched.
I kid you not. Repeats for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing are a big deal especially when there is a huge lack of captioned content in the first place.
Legislation is what we need to make captioning mandatory in New Zealand. It is the only way forward.