17 Aug 2016

Govt claims it funded captioning paid for by deaf foundation

From Checkpoint, 5:46 pm on 17 August 2016

The National Foundation for the Deaf has transcribed Checkpoint's interview with Louise Sinden-Carroll.

[John] If you’re Deaf or hearing impaired the free to air Olympic coverage on Prime TV has near live captioning. It’s expensive but to provide commentary interviews and reactions to people who would otherwise be denied it is considered money well spent.

Now the money has been spent by The National Foundation for the Deaf, but listen to this. In a media statement put out last week by the Ministers of Broadcasting and Disability Issues.  It says, and I quote verbatim, “The Government through NZ On Air funds the charitable trust Able with 2.8 million a year to caption content on free to air TV” and it continues “it’s been a great year for captioning in New Zealand. In February Prime began broadcasting with captions the the coverage of the Olympic games in Rio , also on Prime, has substantial live captioning each day."  

Now the clear inference is that the Olympic captions on Prime have been funded by the government through New Zealand On Air, so Louise Sinden-Carroll from The National Foundation for the Deaf is that the case?

[Louise] Absolutely not.

The Rio Olympics near live captioning that is showing on the Sky TV free to air channel called Prime has been fully funded by The National Foundation for the Deaf because we realised that nobody else was going stand up and give us access. And as a community and a sector we’re sick to death of not being able to understand what's going on in the amazing events such as the Olympics.

[John] So when you see this, when you saw this media statement which really does suggest the funding has come from the government through New Zealand On Air and the charitable trust Able, what did you think?

[Louise] We just felt really, really, really shafted to be honest. Really sidelined. Really, really, really quite hurt and marginalised. So a number of us rung the Minister for Disabilities, of Disability Issues Office in Parliament and asked them to put out a statement just saying that the Olympics captioning was funded by The National Foundation for the Deaf. And they declined the opportunity so we’ve taken the opportunity.

[John] So you called Nicky Wagner's office and said hey this media statement clearly infers the government has funded it. The government hasn’t funded it - we have, what’d they say back to you?

[Louise] Umm initially when they spoke with me they said they would look into it. And then when a couple of other people with hearing loss also rung them and said that’s not fair you need to make it clear, um and they were asked directly to put out a statement saying that we had funded it and also to say we need donations to cover the cost of this and um they declined. I was advised by one of the other callers that they declined which left us in a situation where we felt like we were to be frank um really dirt, like we don’t matter, like we don’t count so its just an ongoing marginalisation of us. They wont fund the captioning and then they wont recognise it when we do it so its really not fair.

[John] How much does it cost you?

[Louise] Cost us $200,000 and that funding will give us near live captioning long term on Sky TV Prime channel. So its not just the Olympics its a whole range of live, near live captioning.

[John] And where do you get the money from? If you’ve got to stump up with $200,000 where does that come from?

[Louise] From donations. And we don’t have millions of dollars of reserves like the other big national charities, we just don’t. So this has taken a fair wallop of our reserve funding but we actually believe that this is so vital that we have to do it.

[John] And all you’re after is credit where credits due, really.

[Louise] Yes, yes please. That’s all we’re asking for because we’ve got a $3 telephone line out here for people to text the word GOLD to 4847 but if nobody will recognise what we've done we’re not getting any support.

[John] Louise Sinden-Carroll from The National Foundation for the Deaf. Checkpoint asked both the Disability Minister Nicky Wagner and the Broadcasting Minister Amy Adams for comment and Ms Wagner's office referred us to Ms Adams office as the quotes in question were hers. Ms Adam's office said the media statement did not mean to infer anything and it has relayed that to The Foundation for the Deaf.