FCC Proposes Closed Caption Fines

February 25, 2005
The FCC this week announced plans to impose fines against three San Diego area television stations for failing to provide timely closed-captioning information or other visual information for the hearing impaired during the October 2003 wildfires.

The commission has proposed fining KGTV, and KFMB $20,000 each and KUSI $25,000 for the broadcasts on Oct. 26 and 27, during the outbreak of the wildfires that resulted in the loss of 3,600 homes.

FCC Chairman Powell in a written statement said that people with hearing disabilities have the right to the same timely emergency information as hearing audiences.

The commission requires TV stations to broadcast emergency information--about hurricanes, earthquakes, toxic gas leaks and widespread fires--in a visual broadcast method, like a news crawl, to alert deaf and hearing-impaired communities.

Apparently, during the fire outbreak, those in deaf communities used e-mail to warn others about road closings and evacuations.

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