Research & policy

President Obama signs landmark access legislation


The act, a draft of which was first introduced by Congressman Ed Markey of Massachusetts in 2008, was passed by the House of Representatives with an overwhelming majority on 29 September.

Among the act’s provisions are the following requirements:

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US House of Representatives passes landmark media access bill


The US House of Representatives today passed S. 3304, the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act and its technical corrections bill. 

 The bill was passed by a voice vote, which represents bipartisan support by both parties. 

The American Council of the Blind (ACB), as a steering committee member of the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT), has expressed its sincere appreciation for the tireless advocacy that Representative Ed Markey and Senator Mark Pryor demonstrated through the process.

Among the bill’s provisions are the following requirements:

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Australian Human Rights Commission rejects subscription TV caption exemption application


The Australian Human Rights Commission (the AHRC) has refused an application for exemption under section 55 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) (DDA) by the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association (ASTRA).

ASTRA, whose members include FOXTEL and AUSTAR, earlier this year sought a five-year temporary exemption from the DDA, meaning that the AHRC would not hear complaints against the members of ASTRA on the grounds of disability discrimination. In exchange for the exemption, ASTRA had offered to raise the level of captioning on 65 of the 91 channels operated by its members.

The AHRC has previously granted such temporary exemptions to subscription television broadcasters.

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US communications regulator requires hearing-aid accessible mobiles

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the US communications regulator, has announced new regulations surrounding mobile phones, requiring all large mobile phone companies to provide at least one hearing-aid compatible model within two years.

The FCC also called on the developers of new technologies to consider the needs of people with hearing impairments when designing new products.

Media Access Australia provides a number of user guides about the accessibility of existing mobile devices and smart phones.  



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