Who Needs Perspective? – “This Government needs to gain an understanding of the perspective of a person who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing.”
Twice this month, when raising the awareness for the need for more captioning, both NZ on Air and the government have replied that 250 hours of captioning is already provided each week.
In fact, the Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman, MP for National questioned the need for more captioning stating that there are 35 hours of captioned television available on free to air television every day, which is more than one person could possibly humanly watch!
So let’s put this into perspective.
Firstly, there may be 250 hours of captioning provided per week, but it’s out of a possible 784 hours. To get the 784 hours I included 24 hours for TV1, 2 and 3, and 16 hours for TV4, and 24 hours for Prime. All Free to Air television on New Zealand TV.
250 out of 784 makes a total of 31% of our Free to Air Television that is captioned.
To break this down even further, of those 250 hours captioned, based on research done in November 2013, 120 of those hours were repeats. That just leaves 14% of unique captioning on Free to Air Television per week. That’s well under reasonable access in my opinion.
Now before you tell us that repeats are the norm for everyone, this is not the case for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people. When we encounter a repeated program on television, we can only change channels to watch another program that is captioned. So this means the choice of what we want to watch is severely limited. To make matters worse, because 50% of captioned content are repeats, there is a 50% chance that another programme that is captioned is repeated as well.
If you don’t believe me, turn off the sound on your TV for a couple of days and only watch captioned Television programmes, then come and join our campaign as I’m sure you will be as frustrated as I am.
This Government needs to gain an understanding of the perspective of a person who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing.
The words of seven year old Annabel Mackay who is profoundly deaf are: “I get sick of watching the same programme all the time”.
So do we Annabel. So do we!