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This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).
FCC ORDERS INCREASED ACCESSIBILITY
Washington, DC - The FCC today adopted rules to require broadcasters, cable operators,
and other multichannel video programming distributors to make local emergency
information that they provide to viewers accessible to persons with hearing disabilities.
The FCC concluded that critical aural information that affects the safety of viewers must
be made available to persons with hearing disabilities.|
This action further implements Section 713 of the Communications Act, added by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Pursuant to Section 713, the Commission previously adopted rules and implementation schedules to ensure that video programming is accessible via closed captioning to persons with hearing disabilities. Because the closed captioning requirement will be phased in over a number of years, today's action ensures that people with hearing disabilities will receive critical emergency information in an accessible format, even before the phase-in of closed captioning is complete.
In a Second Report and Order adopted today, the Commission said that emergency information not provided through closed captioning must be provided through some other method of visual presentation, such as open captioning, crawls or scrolls. These rules will apply regardless of whether the provision of information regarding an emergency occurs during a regularly scheduled newscast, an unscheduled break during regular programming, as part of continuing coverage of a situation, or in any other fashion.
The FCC defined emergency information as:
Examples of the types of emergencies covered include:
In determining whether particular details need to be made accessible, the FCC will permit programming distributors to rely on their own good faith judgments. They are not required to provide in an accessible format all of the information about an emergency situation that they are providing to viewers aurally, only the critical aural information intended to further the protection of life, health, safety, and property. As a result of the rule, persons with hearing disabilities will have access to the same critical information to which other viewers have access.
Action by the Commission April 13, 2000, by Second Report and Order (FCC 00- 136). Chairman Kennard, Commissioners Ness, Furchtgott-Roth, Powell, and Tristani.
MM Docket 95-176
Cable Services Bureau contact: Marcia Glauberman 202-418-7046, TTY 202-