Emergency information accessibility required in US

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Thursday, 18 April 2013 16:27pm

Subscription TV providers and program owners in the USA have been ordered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to make emergency information that appears in text accessible to people who are blind or vision impaired.

According to the new mandate, the video providers must provide an audible version of the emergency information, whether it is crawling text or graphics, so that it is accessible to the blind or vision impaired. Emergency information must also be prioritised over foreign language translation and video description. This is in line with changes brought by the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act 2010 (CVAA). The new rules are to be applied within two years.

The FCC said that television equipment must be able to provide audible emergency information. This applies to equipment manufactured after the date that the rules take effect and applies to DVD and Blu-ray players.

However, the rules do not apply to online video services such as Netflix and Hulu. 'Linear video programming' that is made available via the internet at the same time as a television broadcast is exempt from the rules.

The FCC has also published procedures for making complaints in case video providers or owners fail to comply with the new rules.

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