Edit: Hi all, I have changed the name of the thread to hopefully get more attention for the petition.
We have only 131 signatures so far. If you could please take a second to go on https://www.change.org/p/where-is-the-accessibility-in-the-afl-media and sign the petition, it would be greatly appreciated.
And many thanks to those who have signed.
This post is to ask for advice for getting Telstra and the AFL to provide closed captioning and transcription for all their videos and podcasts on their website and to allow all the AFL clubs to do the same thing on their websites.
Anyway, so all the AFL clubs’ domains are owned/run by Telstra. That is why I have drafted a letter for both the AFL the Telstra. And I am planning to do a petition.
It would be great if I could email both the CEOs directly but obviously that won’t happen, so I am also looking for suggestions on how to get their attention on this matter.
Below is my drafted letter (any feedback would be greatly appreciated!)
To the AFL and Telstra
My name is ----- ------- and I am deaf who, just like many Australians, is a big fan of Aussie Rules football.
My disability does not have be excluding; all I need is accessibility and I am not disabled anymore. For example, at a train station, there is a device with captions that tells you when the train is coming, and whether it is on express or not. This means I am not missing out on the announcements, usually made through a speaker.
I play footy and I am never disabled on the field because the umpire uses signals. Football is a visual game; I do not need to hear the whistle to know when the play has stopped.
However, when it comes to the AFL Media, I am completely disabled. There is no closed captioning on the videos or transcripts for the podcasts.
I am not the only who suffers the lack of access in the AFL Media; there are 3.6 million Australians who are affected by hearing loss.
Subtitles do not have to be for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or experiencing hearing loss. There are more than 2 million Australians with dyslexia, more than 500,000 whose first language is not English. Subtitles also help people with brain injury. It is also beneficial for native English speaking Australians who can turn the sounds off and watch videos on their phones without disturbing others. It would help them with their spelling too.
So, I ask you to take this issue seriously and do something about it immediately.
The short-term solution is (for the AFL), firstly, to use the closed captioning program on each social media network such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. The cost is free - for more information about how to closed caption, please see the links:
Twitter: https://www.3playmedia.com/solutions/how-it-works/how-to-guides/twitter-captions-and-subtitles/ (please note the Twitter doesn’t do closed captioning, only open captioning).
Secondly, AFL can send a memo to all the AFL clubs’ media team regarding closed captioning and request that all of them caption their videos, and transcribe their podcasts.
However, I believe that because of the digital media rights, all the AFL clubs are not allowed to upload all their content on social media. Millions of Australians need this to be amended until the AFL websites are fully accessible if this is the case.
Both the AFL and Telstra have publicly declared that they are committed to being accessible and inclusive for people from every walk of life, so I trust that you will respond with action for the sake of millions of Australians who rely on accessibility, and make watching your videos more convenient for everyone.
I look forward to your reply.