The Captioning Working Group (CWG), with membership from people with hearing loss from The National Foundation for the Deaf, Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand and Hearing Association of New Zealand presented a collaborative submission to the Government Administration Select Committee Inquiry into Captioning in New Zealand today.
The submission from the CWG raised grave concerns at the lack of broadcast captioning when regional and national emergency situations are announced, such as seen recently in the Bay of Plenty, when a state of emergency was declared. Captioning was not provided with the broadcast announcements and access to this evolving situation by the people in the Bay of Plenty who had hearing loss was denied.
Over 800,000 people have some type of hearing loss and many are being denied access to such vital information and the CWG is convinced that it is only a matter of time before a life is lost because of this.
In addition, Dr. Louise Carroll, CWG Chairperson, said that “the CWG is frustrated and incredulous that the marginalisation caused by the lack of legally mandated broadcast media captioning has been permitted to go on for so much longer in New Zealand than in other developed countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom”.
This CWG is hopeful that the Government Inquiry will show how serious this situation is and that this important access issue will be addressed as quickly as possible. A large group of New Zealanders are marginalised because they are not offered inclusion through access. In a 21st century digital society, inclusion for all New Zealanders really does matter.
Listen to the follow-up interview with Radio New Zealand on the importance of captioning these state of emergency broadcasts:
Dr. Louise Carroll
Captioning Working Group
Phone: 021 076 6990