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US communications regulator proposes new rules for audio description

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On 3 March, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a ‘Notice of Proposed Rulemaking’ which outlines how it intends to reinstate audio description quotas on American television

Reinstatement of the quotas for audio description (called ‘video description’ in the US) is a provision of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, which was signed into law by President Obama in October.

The quotas were originally introduced by the FCC in 2000, but its authority to do this was successfully challenged in the United States Court of Appeal five months later.


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US access group calls for end to caption exemptions

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The Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT) has petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), urging that television be fully captioned.

According to the Closedcaptioning.net website, while captioning on the main US channels is at or close to 100%, the FCC’s caption regulations still include some types of programming which are exempt.

COAT is arguing that captioning has become easier and less expensive in recent years, and these exemptions should be eliminated. They include:


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UK charity RNIB launches campaign for book accessibility

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The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has launched an online campaign to raise awareness of the large number of books that are inaccessible to the blind and vision impaired, particularly children.

The UK charity and provider of audio, braille and large-print books has named it the “I’d miss…” campaign, encouraging people to consider the children’s stories that they would have missed had they been unavailable. According to RNIB, less than 5% of books are available in braille, audio and large print.

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Mobile Accessibility app comes to Android

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The release of Mobile Accessibility, a screen access application designed to help people who are blind or vision impaired to use an Android, has created a stir in the access community.

Mobile Accessibility, developed by CodeFactory, consists of a suite of 10 accessible applications for everyday online activities such as email, phone calls and contact lists, SMS, calendar and web. It also has a screen reader that works with these applications, as well as outside the suite to navigate the standard interface.

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