New Zealand Captioning Advocates Submit Petition on Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Updated: January 4, 2018


May 19, 2016 is the fifth annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), an internationally observed day of events and activism promoting digital inclusion of people with disabilities.

Twitter is bustling with the hashtag #GAAD as advocates share resources about universal design and raise awareness for web accessibility.

In observance of GAAD, deaf and hard of hearing advocates in New Zealand submitted a petition to the House of Representatives demanding stricter national closed captioning laws.

A press release from the National Federation for the Deaf announced that the petition by the New Zealand Captioning Working Group collected over 2,300 signatures in support of increased requirements for closed captioning broadcast media. It will be delivered to Green Party representative Mojo Mathers today.

The petition launched last year in response to growing discontent among deaf and hard of hearing Kiwis who could not enjoy the same television programming as their hearing counterparts due to insufficient captioning.

The campaign created a viral video of lipreading-gone-wrong to highlight the problem deaf viewers face when watching an uncaptioned sporting event.

Kiwi caption advocates are eager for accessibility law to catch up with that of other countries like the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK, all of which have more comprehensive regulations around captioning broadcast TV and, in some cases, online video.

In November, 2015, the New Zealand broadcasting minister promised more captioning on Prime TV channels like Sky and Able. While that is a step in the right direction, New Zealand has a long way to go yet.

Mrs. Louise Carroll, Chairperson of the Captioning Working Group and Chief Executive of The National Foundation for the Deaf, explains why more progress is needed:

“This is not about just about access to the Rugby or the latest sporting event attracting New Zealanders attention, it’s about a large group of New Zealanders being marginalized as they are not offered inclusion through access. In a 21st century digital society inclusion for all New Zealanders really does matter.”

In the spirit of GAAD, consider how you can make your organization’s web presence more inclusive. Check out our free webinars on accessible design, or download our white paper “Solving Web Accessibility: Leaving No One Behind.”

Whitepaper: Solving Web Accessibility: Leaving No One Behind

Read the free report: 2017 State of Captioning.

The closed caption CC icon shown in the middle of a TV.