Use the hashtag #subtitlesnow today, to highlight inaccessible online videos!

Posted on June 6, 2012

A few weeks ago, this video from America started making waves…

In the vid, an American ASL user eloquently sets out the case for better access to online videos for deaf people. As he says, with the internet growing at a rapid pace, lack of access to online videos means the deaf community is falling further and further behind.

Whether it’s videos on YouTube, news websites (such as the BBC or the Guardian), or video on demand services like Netflix and Love Film, the levels of subtitling deaf people can find online falls a long, long way short of the level of subtitling on television.

We’re being forgotten when it comes to online video, and the situation needs to improve, fast.

That’s why today, on June 6th, our American cousins are highlighting the videos they’d like to see (but can’t, due to a lack of captions) by tweeting those videos along with the hashtag #captionTHIS.

And on the other side of the Atlantic, us Brits are joining them, all thanks to Pesky People’s Alison Smith who has organised a campaign to Tweet the hashtag #subtitlesnow.

Alison wrote this piece for her website highlighting the lack of access on the Arts Council’s The Space. As she points out, with 10 million deaf and hard of hearing people in the UK, that’s “1 in 6 of the population that cannot access this new, free on demand access to the arts service.”

The Space is just the tip of the iceberg.

So today, let’s make people aware of how much we’re missing out. Tweet the hashtag #subtitlesnow along with the videos you’d like to see, but can’t.

There’s more you can do. Alison Smith has also set up a #subtitlesnow Facebook group, with Suzie Jones, Lidia Best and CCAC Captioning working hard to draw people’s attention to it. Join the Facebook group, tell your friends, and tweet like there’s no tomorrow! You can also contact Alison about her campaign by emailing

The Limping Chicken is supported by Deaf media company Remark!, training and consultancy Deafworks, provider of sign language services Deaf Umbrella, the National Deaf Children’s Society’s Look, Smile Chat campaign, and the National Theatre’s captioned plays.

The Limping Chicken is the world's most popular Deaf blog, and is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne. 

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