It’s a sad day when one has to admit that a large number of Deaf and hearing impaired people (including myself), are up in arms over the Governments new law (Section 92a) over file sharing/downloading content off the internet. You can see the discontent amongst our people on Facebook and other social media sites. It’s very sad.
But the truth of the matter is, this was our ONLY way to access the majority of movies with captioning. Hearing people can take for granted that if they want to see a movie, they can go and enjoy it at the cinema. If they miss it at the cinema or want to see it again, they can head down to the DVD store later and pick it up to watch and enjoy.
Deaf and hearing impaired people have as much right as everyone else to that sort of entertainment, but they are denied this time and time again. Firstly, captioning in cinemas is a joke. In three city centres, Auckland, Wellington, or Christchurch there is a captioned movie only once a month. This is usually held at terrible hours (after midnight or during the day when people are at work) as they don’t want to upset their paying hearing patrons. Not really ideal. Surely the cinemas could do better than this? For the rest of the country, captioned movies at the cinema is simply non-existent, and I’m certainly not going to pay the petrol/travel once a month just to see a movie in Wellington or Christchurch, my closest cities.
All our hearing enabled friends talk about the latest movies, how good or bad they are, or how good the actors were. We, the deaf and hearing impaired, wouldn’t know, as the Cinemas put a stop on DVDs being available for at least 3 or 4 months AFTER the movie came out. This didn’t always be the case as I can remember being able to get a movie out at the same time it was on at the cinema with English captions when DVDs first came onto the market. Once again the Cinemas deny our right to access. Three or four months later we head down to the DVD store to get the movie out – to find that, in a cost saving exercise, whoever bought the movie into New Zealand STRIPPED the English captions off, so once again access to us is denied.
Are you angry yet? I am. It’s one of the most frustrating things, when time and time our access is denied. What everyone else takes for granted, we miss out.
It’s no wonder so many of us were downloading the movies off the internet, complete with captions to watch it in our own homes, just so we knew what the movie was about, so we didn’t feel so dumb when talking to our hearing peers. Are we not entitled to enjoy the entertainment industry like everyone else?
Yes – it was stealing, but what choice did we have?
I, like many others, are quite happy to pay for movies like everyone else – in the cinema, in DVD stores, but these outlets DO NOT PROVIDE FOR US! Other paid sites on the internet for DVDs, are either – illegal, OR, they don’t supply captions. We’ve all looked. But no one is providing this service to us, so we steal for our access. Do you blame us?
Now the Government has denied this access to us, and once again the Deaf and Hearing impaired community gets left out in the cold.
I think it’s time that there is finally legislation in place to protect us. Legislation that will ensure that captioning is compulsory across all forms of media – Television, Cinema, DVDs, and Internet. Only then will we have 100% access. Everyone that I have spoken to overseas involved in lobbying for captions assures me that until Legislation was in place, nothing was done.
So – I think that’s our first port of call. The survey we did showed that 90% of people were in support for Legislation – this just simply cannot be ignored.
I encourage you to all to make a complaint to the Human Rights Commission about this. The more complaints they receive, the more they have to act on it.
To make a complaint please go to the following link
Human Rights Commission for Complaints
It’s pretty simple. Just put the complaint in your own words and feelings. E.g. lack of captions on DVDs and the new barriers Deaf now face with this new law (Section 92a). Show how it affects you and how unfair it is to you. It is best to use your own day to day situation as an example.
Let us know how you get on, and please leave a comment on this blog to show your support.