Film, television caption commitment welcomed

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South Canterbury-based disability advocate Mojo Mathers has welcomed the recent Government commitment to increasing captioning levels of Kiwi films and television shows.

Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister Clare Curran said she had asked officials to look at options for improving captioning of New Zealand content, including the suggestion that captions be a requirement for receiving NZ On Air and NZ Film Commission funding.

“Captioning is a vital service for hearing-impaired people.”

Ms Mathers, who is a former Green Party MP and was New Zealand’s first deaf MP, said any legislation needed to include minimum levels of captioning of TV shows and films in New Zealand.

“Unless they [do that] .. they will only be tinkering around the edges.”

It was “hugely frustrating and isolating” not to have access to a large amount of news, popular culture – particularly popular Kiwi films – and sport because of the lack of captions, she said.

“Like thousands of other deaf and hard-of-hearing New Zealanders, from children to elderly, I rely on captioning for access to news, current affairs, videos and films.”