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TVNZ asked to provide more sign language interpreters

A complaint about New Zealand broadcaster TVNZ’s failure to provide sign language interpreters on live broadcasts is being heard at the Human Rights Review Tribunal in Auckland.

The complaint, laid by Deaf Action, covers the lack of New Zealand Sign Language access on 1News’s items of national interest and claims that access to the news in sign language is a human right, the New Zealand Herald reports.

Deaf Action chairperson Kim Robinson told the tribunal in the Auckland District Court of the difficulties that members of the deaf community have when receiving important information on television.

“TVNZ news provides access to national and international current affairs, including alerts and announcements. Deaf people need to be aware of this information too.”

A lawyer for TVNZ, Daniel Nilsson, said it was up to the National Emergency Management Agency, not TVNZ, to provide interpreters in matters of national emergency.

He said there had already been a significant increase in sign language in relation to significant national events in New Zealand.

The hearing is set to run through to October with seven witnesses giving evidence.