Hi Mojo, thanks for taking the time to reply during what I'm sure is a busy election campaign. I appreciate that.
Your use of "captioning" and "audio description" in the same sentence several times in your reply is exactly the kind of inclusive language I would like to have seen in the summary and releases last week, for the reasons I set out in my original post. This kind of language certainly made me feel more included and that my needs are of equal importance than did what I read last week.
Just as targets for captioning have been set overseas, so have targets for audio description. The UK is the leader in this market, with their Office of Communications mandating a minimum of 10% of content be audio described by free-to-air and subscription networks. In many cases, the quota is being exceeded voluntarily, with some networks now reaching 20%.
That figure is pretty impressive, given that I think most blind people would agree that news programming doesn't require audio description. So precedent exists for quotas and I would like to have seen hard numbers given for both of these important services, captioning and description.
Nevertheless, I acknowledge that the fact we can have a discussion about targets rather than about whether the service is necessary at all is progress.
I would also reiterate the brief comment I made in my original post. The Green Party policy documents are not well structured for screen reader access. Whoever is writing them up for publication is not using styles, such as designating each section of a policy as a heading, and using lower heading levels for subsections. This makes it impossible for a screen reader user to navigate section by section. It's certainly possible to read from beginning to end and to search for key words, but not to quickly skim the text as a sighted reader would.
Overall though, congratulations for the positive, inclusive, forward-looking policy that has been put together.
Keep up the great work and thanks again.
Precisely, this is not about resources, the appropriations are tiny. This is about squeaky wheel politics and it's bad public policy.
I also object to Sacha repeatedly defining me as a "person with impaired vision". I am not. I'm a blind person and I would like my right to define myself respected.
Hi Rosemary, it's an interesting idea, but I see a number of problems with this.
Audio description is great because it equalizes the TV watching experience. Just as with captioning, disabled and non-disabled people alike can sit around the telly and share the experience.
Providing access to a script means that someone's got to have some sort of device with them to follow along with that script. The majority of blind people don't read Braille, so they would need some kind of talking computer, which can distract from the main dialogue.
But I guess that's a little bit like what I described with my House Of Cards experience in the main post, where to really appreciate what was going on, I had to look up a summary afterwards.
The good news is that TVNZ now has the infrastructure to do audio description and some NZ On Air funding has been allocated. So it's a case of allocating more funding and asking political parties to be specific about how much they're committing to.
Indeed, Government funding for blindness services, what funding there is, comes largely from Health, which I didn't support at the time and don't support now.
Hi Sacha, you seem to be looking for a problem that doesn't exist. Audio description is readily achievable. It isn't hard, and it's not expensive. It takes minimal resources.
I think all this is proving is that each disability type perhaps needs to advocate for itself, and that my suspicion is correct that cross-disability advocacy just doesn't work. If Mojo being deaf means the Greens now prioritise the deaf over universal access, then OK, that's the reality. But I don't think your argument about people needing to work together more, and then being so dismissive of the needs of blind people in this case, is consistent.
Hi Sacha, while public policy is of course about competing priorities, if the Green Party think it is important to make something accessible, then good policy dictates that it should be universally accessible. It should either be done properly, or not done at all.
And let's face it, audio describing content is hardly a big ticket item in the context of the budget.
I feel no differently about this than I would about someone putting lifts that talk and have Braille buttons into a building, without also taking wheelchair accessibility into account. Universal access is good policy, and although their policy is excellent overall, the Greens have dropped the ball on this particular point.
And thanks for the link, Patrick. I had no idea my Thesis was online.
Obviously we all think in different ways, so I'm not sure if your post reflects how many in the Deaf community feel or not. But if so, it reflects an interesting difference. Blind people in general are more likely to prefer terms like "watch TV" and "did you see that" to be used because they're commonplace terms. We'd more likely be offended if they were not.
Thanks Russell, the whole issue of people being nervous to use visual language among blind people is a common source of social awkwardness.
It usually goes something like, "Did you see the documentary on TV last night?...Oh...I'm so sorry...I mean I know you couldn't *see the documentary, but...um...did you hear it on TV?"
I don't know a blind person who doesn't talk about "watching TV", and who doesn't use phrases like "I see what you mean".
It's complex though, because "see" and "understand" are often used interchangeably in the English language, so people often assume that if you can't physically see something, you can't understand it.
Agreed, I don't think we have a shortage of media-savvy disabled people. We have a press with almost no interest in ensuring our voices are heard and issues given appropriate coverage.
Cheers Adrian, I'd certainly love to attend if there were a work-related excuse to leave the capital. I hope the event goes well, it sounds like an excellent initiative.