US city makes captions compulsory on public TVs

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Monday, 23 November 2015 15:39pm

All television sets in public places in Portland, Oregon, will need to have closed captions switched on during business hours, after the Portland City Council passed a new ordinance last week.

Neon sign reading "Portland, Oregon, Old Town" lit up at dusk

The rule will apply to bars, restaurants, gyms and other public spaces. It was welcomed by advocates for the deaf, who argued that deaf patrons could miss important news items, particularly in emergencies.

"This ordinance benefits everyone," said Commissioner Amanda Fritz. "It promotes access for everyone."

The new ordinance comes into effect at the beginning of December. After that, businesses that don’t turn the captions on will be liable to fines of up to US$500 per day.

For more information, see this article from the Portland Mercury.

The Portland ordinance follows a ruling made by the Department of Transport in August that all TVs in American airports must have captions turned on.

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