The New Zealand Captioning Working Group Report

The New Zealand Captioning Working Group (CWG) is a collaboration of Deaf Aotearoa, The National Foundation for the Deaf and the Hearing Association New Zealand. Our aim is to see captioning available to enable broadcast access for all Deaf and Hard of Hearing New Zealanders. This aim is also supported by the International Federation of Hard of Hearing and the World Federation of the Deaf and both organisations have called on the New Zealand Government to implement Article 9 of the UNCRPD and provide broadcast captioning enabling access to television by Deaf and Hard of Hearing New Zealanders.

We have been working for several years to ensure access to Deaf & Hard of Hearing New Zealanders through captioning on broadcast media and video content across a wide variety of TV channels and delivery mechanisms, including on demand services.

New Zealand’s level of broadcast captioning is low compared to many developed countries that we would usually compare ourselves to as these countries have legislated that Broadcasters must provide captioning. In addition the access gap is widening because the TV landscape is rapidly evolving as new technologies emerge e.g TV on demand service.

Recently we lodged a Human Rights Complaint alleging that SKY Television are unfairly discriminating by failing to provide captioned access to the Rugby World Cup on their free to air channel PRIME where the All Blacks games are being broadcast. This is far from the first time a request has been made to SKY TV for captioned access on Prime TV but still they persist with their claim that they lack technical capability to provide captioning. We are growing extremely weary of this excuse as they have rolled it out for many years now; it does not carry weight and is of no merit.

A mediation meeting is the first step in the human rights complaint process and we expect the CWG will meet with SKY TV representatives at a meeting facilitated by the New Zealand Human Rights Commission mediator which we hope will proceed in the next couple of weeks.

Also, over the next couple of weeks we will be asking for your support directly on a couple of high profile and exciting campaign initiatives. Our announcements will follow shortly. In the interim, please follow the #CaptionitNZ campaign on social media channels and spread the word of our need for words on TV!

Before closing, the CWG would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Member of Parliament Ms Mojo Mathers on the questions about the lack of captioning of the Rugby World Cup games she asked in the Parliamentary Debating Chamber last week. Well done!

Louise Carroll, Chairperson, Captioning Working Group;

CaptionitNZ Facebook

CaptionitNZ Twitter – @CaptionitNZ

Without Legislation

Question in the House