Captioning campaign launched in New Zealand

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Monday, 24 March 2014 17:12pm

The National Foundation for the Deaf has launched a campaign, Caption It!, calling for increased levels of captioning on New Zealand television.

The campaign, which coincides with Hearing Week (24-30 March), draws attention to the very low levels of captioning in New Zealand compared to the US and UK, where 100% of programming on all major free-to-air and subscription channels is captioned. The captioning rate on public broadcasters in New Zealand is, by contrast, only 19.7% measured over 24 hours.

"Technology is crucial to the lives of so many New Zealanders,” said Louise Carroll, CEO of The National Foundation for the Deaf. “At the current low level of captioning, we are severely impeding community integration for people who are hard of hearing.”

In Australia, caption levels are also behind the US and UK. Currently, 100% of programs screened on the networks’ primary channels between 6 am and midnight must be captioned (or 75% over 24 hours). Levels on subscription TV channels are generally much lower, while the digital multichannels such as Gem, 7mate and Eleven are only required to provide captions on repeat programs that were originally captioned for the primary channel. The previous Federal government announced that a review of the multichannel legislation would take place before the end of 2012, but this did not happen, and the present government has not yet announced any plans for the multichannels.

For more information on television captioning requirements in Australia, see our Policy and expectations page.

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