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Commonwealth Games are not being captioned in NZ

July 24, 2014

As members of the Captioning Working Group, The National Foundation for the Deaf and Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand call for broadcast captioning of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Everyone around you is cheering on a New Zealand participant as they approach the line to win Gold and you are watching the faces of the people around you, trying to read what is happening as the television screen is not captioned and you cannot hear the commentators. This, sadly, is going to be the reality for thousands of New Zealanders who are deaf or hard of hearing during the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Technology is a significant part of the answer to the access challenges faced by many thousands of New Zealanders who have some type of hearing loss. This is clearly highlighted by access through broadcast captioning to the highs and lows of significant sporting events.

In Scotland, people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing are being asked to comment on the quality of the Commonwealth Games captioning. But here, in New Zealand, captioning is non-existent. This begs the question: are Deaf or Hard of Hearing People in New Zealand even considered to be citizens of the Commonwealth? 

Louise Carroll, Chair of the Captioning Working Group and CEO of the National Foundation for the Deaf, has written to Hon. John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand asking how he intends to ensure access to the broadcast Commonwealth Games by the deaf and hard of hearing when they are not captioned?

Research shows that until legislation is enacted, Broadcasters will not introduce a reasonable rate of captioning. It is imperative that the New Zealand Government step in and introduce the mandatory requirement to apply captioning in the Broadcasting Act and the Telecommunications Act.

Please show your support for this cause, upholding the right of hearing impaired New Zealanders, as members of the Commonwealth, to access the 2014 Commonwealth Games by ensuring this issue is given the profile it deserves. 

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Contact: Louise Carroll, CEO - The National Foundation for the Deaf Inc., [email protected] or+ 64 21 076 699