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FCC begins closed captioning review
7/22/2005

The FCC has begun a proceeding to assess whether its closed captioning rules are succeeding in ensuring that video programming is accessible to the millions of deaf and hard-of-hearing Americans.

The commission wants to find out if any revisions should be made to enhance the effectiveness of those rules.

The current closed captioning rules have been in place since Jan. 1, 1998. At the time the rules were adopted, the commission indicated it would review them after closed captioning was implemented to determine whether its expectations regarding closed captioning were being met. As of Jan. 1, 2006, all non-exempt new programming must be captioned.

The commission is interested in comments about various aspects of closed captioning. It has asked for comments to address several issues, including:

  • Is there a need to adopt standards for non-technical quality of closed captioning, such as accuracy of transcription?
  • Is there a need for additional procedures to prevent and remedy technical problems such as captions not being delivered intact?
  • Should distributors have specific mechanisms in place for monitoring and maintenance?
  • Should the existing complaint procedure be changed?
  • Should the commission establish specific per violation forfeiture amounts for non-compliance with the captioning rules?
  • Should the commission require video programming distributors to file compliance reports as to the amount of closed captioning they provide?
  • Should the ban on counting electronic newsroom technique captioning to meet captioning requirements be extended beyond the top 25 markets?
  • What is the current status on the supply of available captioners?
  • Should the commission require electronic filing of requests for exemption from the closed captioning requirements?

For more information, visit www.fcc.gov.

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