Last week, Ministers’ Amy Adams (Broadcasting) and Nicky Wagner (Disability Issues) put out a joint press release about how Parliament captioning increases accessibility, which is true.
However, they then proceeded to muddy the waters when they wrote…
“The Government, through NZ On Air, funds the charitable trust Able with $2.8 million a year to caption content on free to air TV.
“It's been a great year for captioning in New Zealand. In February, Prime began broadcasting with captions and the coverage of the Olympic Games in Rio also on Prime has substantial live captioning each day.”*
This is where the subterfuge and skulduggery becomes apparent because on reading the above paragraphs it is reasonable to infer that NZ On Air funded the Rio Olympic games captioning on SKY TV free-to-air channel Prime. But this couldn’t be further from what actually happened…
Unfortunately the Government or any other funding bodies failed to step up and give the many thousands of New Zealanders with hearing loss the opportunity to have access to broadcast captioning of the Rio Olympics.
After reading and being shocked by the combined press release by the Ministers we contacted the office of Nicky Wagner, the Minister for Disability Issues asking they release a statement recognising what we have done to achieve Rio Olympics broadcast access for New Zealanders with hearing loss but they refused. But, all is not lost as we are now doing it for her.
We at The National Foundation for the Deaf took the brave step of underwriting $200,000 for equipment to enable near live captioning and the people hours required to caption the Games from our meagre reserves to ensure we too could participate. We are going it alone but we love the Games access and the results our wonderful Olympians are achieving too!
If you have enjoyed watching the Olympics with or without captions, please spare a thought for how we are supporting Rio Olympics access by Deaf and Hard of Hearing New Zealanders and please make a donation in support..
To make a small $3 donation you can pick up your cellphone and text: 4847
To make a larger donation visit: https://secure.fundraiserpro.com/donate/NFD/
For more information please call Louise on 021 076 6990
P.S. In addition, there will be a long-term benefit to this equipment now being available for Prime (SKY TV) as they will be able to do near-live captioning on many other live events too.
Broadcast captioning of the Rio Olympics featured in the 18 August 2016 New Zealand Parliament Question Time and how The National Foundation for the Deaf had to pay for broadcast captioning access to the Games for New Zealanders who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Have a look here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GD23ccQ1TB4