International policy and legislation

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Canadian communications regulator calls for comments on proposed caption quality standards


The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has called for comments on proposed English-language and French-language Caption Quality Standards.

In 2007, the commission introduced a new policy which stated that broadcasters must caption 100% of programs apart from commercials and promos. It also instructed the Canadian Association of Broadcasters to establish caption working groups for the English language market and French-language market, which would include representatives from the broadcasters, distributors, consumer and advocacy groups, and caption providers.

The commission noted that there were some areas on which the English-language working group could not reach consensus. These included:

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Accessibility expert’s ideas to make JetBlue website more accessible


Derek Featherstone, accessibility expert and founder of Further Ahead, has posted an article outlining some of the technical changes that the USA’s JetBlue Airways could implement to make its website more accessible.

The article was inspired by the lawsuit filed in 2010 against JetBlue for the inaccessibility of its website. The outcome of the case against JetBlue Airways last week effectively left the complainants with no recourse in US state or federal courts.

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UK: Audio description now mandatory on Freeview TV receivers


All new HD digital set top boxes and integrated digital TVs sold in the UK will now have to receive audio description to qualify for approval by Freeview (the trademark for free-to-air digital TV services).

"This is great news for blind and partially sighted people, as AD was always an optional feature available on some digital TVs and set top boxes,” said Raheel Malick, Development Officer (Digital Media) at the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

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Outrage at decision in JetBlue accessibility case


In a decision that has sent disbelief  and anger through the disability community, a United States federal judge has ruled that California anti-discrimination laws do not apply to airline websites and kiosks in the case against JetBlue Airways.

The case was brought against JetBlue Airways in October 2010 for the inaccessibility of their website and airport check-in kiosks for people who are blind or vision impaired.

The judge dismissed the case on the grounds that federal regulations, not state laws, applied in the case.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recognises access to information and communications technologies, including the Web, as a basic human right.  This ruling strips away the rights of people with disabilities to access JetBlue’s website and kiosks.

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