US House of Representatives passes landmark media access bill

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Wednesday, 29 September 2010 14:50pm

The US House of Representatives today passed S. 3304, the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act and its technical corrections bill. 

 The bill was passed by a voice vote, which represents bipartisan support by both parties. 

The American Council of the Blind (ACB), as a steering committee member of the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT), has expressed its sincere appreciation for the tireless advocacy that Representative Ed Markey and Senator Mark Pryor demonstrated through the process.

Among the bill’s provisions are the following requirements:

  • All captioned TV programs will be captioned when delivered over the Internet.
  • The top 4 network channels and top 5 cable channels will provide audio description (AD) on 7 hours of programming per week.
  • Televised emergency information will be accessible to the blind and vision impaired.
  • Receiving devices of any size will be capable of displaying closed captions, delivering AD, and accessing emergency information.
  • Controls on televisions and set-top boxes will be accessible, and captions and AD easy to access.

The next step in the process is for the bill to go to the White House for Presidential signature, after which it will become public law. The signing will take place within the next 10 days.


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