9 Feb 2022

Will new disability legislation include access to media?

From Nine To Noon, 9:30 am on 9 February 2022
The man with the remote control in hand watching the sports channel and presses the button on the remote control. Remote control in hand closeup.

Photo: 123RF

People who are deaf, blind or low vision are currently missing out being able to fully access one of life's simple pleasures - watching TV.

Currently, NZ on Air funds closed captions and audio description services, but it doesn't cover all scheduled programming.

There is no legislation requiring a minimum amount of captioning or audio description, putting New Zealand out of step with other OECD nations.

It's hoped that better access to media will be captured by the proposed accessibility legislation unveiled by the government in October, alongside a new Ministry for Disabled People.

Disability advocates warn the new legislation must include provisions for accessing information, communications and technology, and if lawmakers don't get it right from the outset, it could take decades to undo the damage.

Kathryn speaks with Wendy Youens the chief executive of Able, the country's leading provider of media access services, and John Mulka, chief executive of Blind Low Vision NZ.