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Taxpayer funded captioning gives broadcasters a free pass

May 20, 2015

Increasing taxpayer funding to captioning is letting profitable broadcasters off the hook from their responsibilities, said the Green Party today.

NZ on Air today announced that it will increase funding to Able, which delivers captioning and audio description, by $400,000.

“Broadcasters need to step up and take responsibility for the accessibility of their services rather than relying on public funding,” said Green Party disability spokesperson Mojo Mathers.

“Profitable broadcasters should not be getting a free ride by having captioning funded by taxpayer dollars.

“Overseas, the responsibility lies with the broadcaster who in turn stands to make more profits through their content being more accessible.

“Throwing more of the public’s money at increasing captioning will never get us to the levels of captioning needed or to levels seen overseas.

“We want to increase accessibility to television programmes but we want it done the right way.

“New Zealand is currently far behind on captioning levels, compared to other similar countries such as Australia, the US and the UK; the difference is those countries have mandatory captioning.

“Currently none of our on-demand TV has captioning and we know this is a growing market.

“The Green Party has consistently called for the need for regulation of both internet and broadcasting services to build in accessibility, rather than treating it as a ‘nice to have’ add on,” said Ms Mathers.