The recent Captioned Cinema Exemption protest has stirred a huge response. The hard work of Deaf Australia and Deafness Forum promoting cinema access was mocked by the cinema chains who offered us a pittance in return and claimed they were being “generous”. So generous in fact, we were not allowed to make a complaint against them for two and a half years.
This exemption proposal might have gone unnoticed if not for the keen eyes of Arts Access Victoria.
They were able to pass on the exemption information and interpret it in easy English format to the public and harness support. Perhaps it was how they broadcast the news through email and Youtube.
Perhaps it was the people they chose to pass on the information to the masses. Most importantly, perhaps it was how they showed us that this exemption was wrong and why it was wrong, and their indignation sparked a flame inside of us. Instead of the defeatist attitude that we and our organisations often take, we were challenged to assess what our dignity and humanity were worth.
In a nutshell, we declared ourselves better than the patronising tripe the cinema chains were feeding us and the letters of protest to Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC formerly HREOC) began in earnest. At least 450 of them.
Instead of the defeatist attitude that we and our organisations often take, we were challenged to assess what our dignity and humanity were worth.
Arts Access Victoria organised a community forum in Melbourne. It was unfortunate that such forums were not held Interstate. It really is a matter of who is guiding the ship and the Arts Access Victoria captain, Ms Veronica Pardos, rose to the occasion. From that forum a meeting was organised to plan a multi-pronged attack.
The first point of attack was an e-postcard to be sent to Ministers of Parliament. This is an election year and targeting the Ministers that ARHC is accountable to is a judicious decision. Secondly, protests are being held all over Australia (with the exception of Darwin and Canberra) on Saturday 13th February at 11am at various venues.
A reasonable amount of secrecy over the venues was necessary so that cinema chains were not aware of where the protests will occur and shut us down before we begin. This is now public information and the venues for the protests can be seen at the Arts Access Victoria Website . Other links can be found at the end of this article. Check them out!
It is essential that we succeed!
So what exactly is being protested?
The rights of Deaf and hearing impaired Australians, young and old, to enjoy captioned access to any movie, at any location and at any time. No more watching only the movies chosen for us, and no more picking one of three possible and very unfriendly session times at only one location at best.
We are also protesting for audio description for Blind or vision impaired Australians.They also have not been granted access and while they can hear dialogue and sounds on the screen, they need an audio description of who is talking, movements of actors and other visual imagery pivotal to the story.
From little things, big things grow.
So if you are a Deaf, hearing impaired, Blind or vision impaired person, have a friend or family member who is also Deaf, hearing impaired, Blind or vision impaired, come and protest with us. Protest for our rights to have dignity and access to the same recreational activities that others take for granted.
Remember, from little things, big things grow. Make this grow and take a life on its own! We and future generations will thank you!
To find out more information about the protests, you will need to be a Facebook member. Search the group Action-On-Cinema-Access and join to become a member. Once accepted, you will receive information about the protest locations. You can spread this to your family, friends and work colleagues.
See you all there waving a placard!!