Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act

New access for a new century: we sit down with Karen Peltz Strauss

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At the recent M-Enabling Conference hosted by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network in Sydney, one of the keynote speakers was Karen Peltz Strauss, Deputy Bureau Chief at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the USA.  Peltz Strauss has been involved in access to media and information by people with disabilities for many decades, working from both the consumer and regulatory sides. Media Access Australia’s CEO Alex Varley caught up with Peltz Strauss at M-Enabling to discuss the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA). Peltz Strauss was a major player in the development of the CVAA and now has the task of implementing the provisions of the Act in her capacity as a regulator.

Genesis of the CVAAof


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US news organisations argue for audio description exemptions

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The National Association of Broadcasters and Fox News Channel have written to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), requesting that they are given exemptions from audio description requirements.

The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, which became law last October, reinstated audio description (called video description in the US) quotas for television. The FCC is currently establishing a timetable and rules for the service.


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The third annual Audio Description Institute

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This year’s Audio Description Institute will be held in Reno, Nevada, on 14-16 July, in conjunction with the American Council of the Blind’s annual conference and convention.

With the signing of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act by President Obama last October, the United States will soon see a significant increase in audio description on television.

The institute, which is run by the Audio Description Project, offers a range of interactive sessions covering the history and theory of audio description, and is aimed at new audio describers and experienced describers who wish to refresh their skills.


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US communications regulator proposes new access rules

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will hold an open meeting on 3 March to consider Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRMs) on two proposals of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act.

These are:

  • The proposal to require providers of advanced communications services and manufacturers of equipment used for those services to make products accessible for people with disabilities.
  • The proposal to reinstate the FCC’s rules for video description (called audio description in Australia).

The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, a comprehensive set of proposals to make electronic and online media accessible, was signed into law by President Obama on 8 October 2010.


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