February 25, 2005
FCC Proposes Closed Caption Fines
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.