Why Do We Actually Need Closed Captions? “We need the Government to step up and legislate, making captioning compulsory in both the Broadcasting Act and the Telecommunications Act.”
Our Captioning campaign is getting heard in many places both nationally and internationally, but some people don’t understand what we are campaigning for. So here goes – our way of explaining what we need.
1). Legislation. We need the Government to step up and legislate, making captioning compulsory in both the Broadcasting Act and the Telecommunications Act.
Why? Because the rate of broadcast captioning over a 24 hour period in New Zealand will remain behind Australia, UK, USA and Europe until captioning is law. None of those countries had any increase in captions until the legislation went through. UK and USA are at 100% now, and Australia is now up to 85%. Compared to the 23% that New Zealand gets, we have a way to go before we catch up.
The reason that it needs to be in both Acts is because of internet content – broadcasting is already moving to the internet, and this must be covered as well.
2). Taxpayers Money. No – we’re not asking for more taxpayers money. We’re asking for Legislation. The current model doesn’t work, and we know that achieving increased hours of captioned TV doesn’t (and hasn’t) happened without legislation.
3). Profile. Some people don’t understand what closed captioning is all about. They worry that if we get 100% captions, then it’ll show on the TV all the time. This isn’t what happens – the captions are closed captions, and are accessed through the menu system on the TV, or on some TV remote controls and you will only see them if you choose to turn them on.
4). Numbers. Did you know 1:6 people have hearing loss in New Zealand? That’s 700,000 Deaf and Hard of Hearing people in New Zealand with some type of loss. So captioning isn’t in the minority bracket – it will improve access to information for a significant number of New Zealanders.
5). Technology Yes – technology is improving all the time, but it doesn’t and hasn’t taken away the need for captioning. No amount of technology is going to make us hear “normally”. Cochlear Implants (CI) are not a cure but can significantly help some people though many still need captioning to understand TV programmes after implant and others cannot benefit from CI and must have captioning.
Technology is changing all the time and because of this legislation is needed now to ensure that with the expansion of OnDemand services/Streaming and replays of broadcasting in internet news media that Deaf / HOH are not further disadvantaged.
6). Quality When we have Legislation, the bar must be set for high quality captioning. At present the captioning quality can leave a lot to be desired. Words are dropped, sometimes it’s too fast. Quality must be consistent across all channels.