The Human What??? Awards

It is official. I do not matter. We do not matter. The only people that matter are the people who are part of the Boys and Girls Club. If your not in you are out. You are irrelevant. You can scream and you can rant but it is all to no avail. You can even try negotiating and dealing with the complaints departments. You can try all the manner of diplomatic solutions but all will be pointless. You see you have to be part of this elite Boys and Girls club to have any influence.

I have come to this conclusion as the result of the farcical decision to nominate the Big 4 Cinemas for a Human Rights award. To rub salt into the wound Foxtel were nominated too. The Boys and Girls club that consists of the Commissioner, the captioner, the lobbyist and the executives have combined to collude. Their aim is simply to keep the names of the Cinemas and Foxtel in bright lights. The fact that these two entities have an appalling record in human rights makes no difference. They have friends in high places and enormous profits are being made. Self gratification is the name of the game.

What exactly are Human Rights? Well the Australian Human Rights Commission, that has seen fit to accept these nominations, defines them beautifully.

  • the recognition and respect of peoples dignity
  • a set of moral and legal guidelines that promote and protect a recognition of our values, our identity and ability to ensure an adequate standard of living
  • the basic standards by which we can identify and measure inequality and fairness
  • those rights associated with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Using this frame work lets examine a few of these criteria. Lets start with the first criteria – The recognition and respect of Human dignity.  It is worth nothing that this criteria is also prominent in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In fact it is the first of the declarations and states, All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Now before you read further watch this video in all its entirety.  It was, of course, made by the brilliant Phillip Debs.

Having watched this can you honestly say that Mr Debs left the cinema with dignity? He has had to go to the front desk, tell all and sundry he is deaf and needs CaptiView. He has had to wait a long time to get the device and let’s not forget all the cock ups that they made in getting it. He has then had to lump this unseemly device all over the cinema. It didn’t work. He had to get the manager several times and it still didn’t work. It finally worked after he had missed a quarter of the movie. What is worse he has had to endure this farce 15 times where only twice the captions worked as they should. He got no reimbursement, only an assurance that the difficulties would be reported to the big boss. Respect? Dignity? You tell me where they exist here.

In Darwin a couple of Aboriginal people were actually denied the device because they did not have a license. They offered other forms of ID but they were not accepted. In the end they went with out. Respect? Dignity? Where do they exist here?

Around Australia Deaf people are having their cinema experience ruined by this, in Mr Debs words, ‘Crap Technology’  They are leaving the cinema with eye strain and headaches because of the constant refocusing from device to screen. Tall people have to slump in their seats to use the device. People with vision issues have reported that they have to alternate their glasses on and off to try and watch a movie. Deaf kids are being denied the cinema experience because concentrating from device to screen is beyond them.

Now let’s look at point two and three of the Australian Human Rights Commission definition of human rights. Point  two – a set of moral and legal guidelines that promote and protect a recognition of our values, our identity and ability to ensure an adequate standard of living. What is moral about denying people the right to watch a movie in a way that they can enjoy it? Where does that provide the same standard of enjoyment as everyone else? Let’s look at point 3 – the basic standards by which we can identify and measure inequality and fairness. Are any of the examples listed in the previous standards FAIR or EQUAL? Of course they are not but some how the cinemas have been nominated for a Human Rights Award? Pray do tell me how.

And Foxtel? – hehehehehehehehehe. Foxtel are the richest television subsidiary in Australia. They have been in Australia for over a decade. Virtually every show they put on has a caption file available for it. Yet they are obliged to provide only 55% of their shows with captions. The captions often fail, double up or are not shown when they are advertised. Fair? Equal? In whose eyes?

For that 55% access to shows deaf people are expected to pay the full subscription. For the poor quality captioning deaf people are supposed to pay the full subscription. “OH”,  but Foxtel will claim,  “We provide more than we are legally obliged to.” Well WHOOOOOPPPPEEEEE! Arguably they can provide close to 100% captioning already but they simply do not want to. Yet they charge the deaf at the same rate as everyone else for less access and poorer quality. Dignity? Fair? Equal? Give me a break! BUT some how Foxtel got nominated for a Human Rights award too. What an absolute fricken JOKE!

I urge deaf people to not put up with this rubbish. Film yourselves and the sub standard access that you are putting up with at the cinema. Film your substandard Foxtel access. Post these films everywhere. Make them viral. Write to the Australian Huiman Rights Commission and let them know what you think of these joke nominations for Human Rights awards. Most of all PROTEST! The venue for the awards is at the Sydney Hilton on December 10th. Let the world know that the deaf have had enough – MAKE A STAND AND TAKE ACTION!