There has been a little girl whose face has become famous across the internet especially since her mother, Helen Mackay has been extremely vocal about sharing her words to push a very important campaign: Caption It New Zealand. While Caption It New Zealand is not about a singular case, this little girl, Annabel has been one of the biggest driving forces behind the organization.
What does this organization do exactly? Exactly what it says, demands captioning in New Zealand. This might come as a surprise to people that haven’t lived in the 80’s and 90’s in America but there have been times where captioning was not a standardized practice. Fortunately, today there are very little if any oppressive cases by different companies (i.e. NetFlix) when it comes to captioning things for their viewers.
In New Zealand the rate of public broadcasting is less than 24 percent over a 24 hour period. This is based on observation by individuals that pay attention to which shows are captioned and when. This is on par on third world countries and their access services. New Zealand does not qualify as a third world country in many aspects so why should captioning be one of them?
This compares poorly to approximately 85% in Australia and 100% in the United States and United Kingdom. This low level of captioning severely impedes community integration for people who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and breaches Article 9 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) (Caption It New Zealand)
As many individuals within the community understand, captioning is a very important aspect of today’s television programs and making things accessible that would otherwise be lost. That is an argument that Caption It New Zealand uses to explain why it’s important to have captioning access. They pay extra attention to news bulletins that happen during state of emergency and so forth.
The best thing about Caption It New Zealand is that there are organizations from various backgrounds that have come together to rally against lack of access for people. The organization members are from: Deaf Aotearoa, The Hearing Association, and National Foundation for the Deaf.
Their website is very user friendly and easy to read, has many stories that people can relate to, and ways for people to support their movement. Check out Caption It New Zealand!