Captioning News: Not Good News

Time to start writing! From DeafNetwork:
The News Just Got Worse!
By Cheryl Heppner
In addition to the two exemptions announced today, the Federal Communications Commission has sent out 250 more letters granting captioning exemptions! They are apparently poised to send out another huge batch of letters that will amount to a total of about 550 exemptions.
Nothing about these other exemptions has appeared in the FCC’s Daily Digest to notify the public. The FCC is just making them available in the Public Reference Room. You wouldn’t even know to look for them there.

I have sent emails on behalf of NVRC to the FCC Chairman and the Commissioners to protest this outrage. I hope you will too. In a meeting with some of the FCC staff earlier this year, and being asked how I would suggest dealing with the hundreds of requests for waivers. My advice was to be firm about enforcing the regulations, particularly in light of the fact that the regulations had been in effect for 10 years so they had plenty of time to plan for it. I also said that if any exemptions were granted at all, they should be short-term exemptions. I never anticipated that our patience of the last 10 years would be rewarded with this terrible decision.
Speak Up Now!
– You don’t need to give a lot of detail. Just call, or write an email. Give your name. Don’t worry about being emotional; the FCC needs to know this is an emotional issue for us. Say that you feel about learning that the FCC has made a decision to grant a large number of captioning exemptions, and ask that it be reversed immediately You can add something personal if you like, about how this is going to affect you or someone you know who is being shut out of life because those programs aren’t accessible.
To call the Chairman, Kevin Martin: 202-418-1000 (Voice)
To email, you can cut and paste these and send one email to all the commissioners with a cc to Monica Desai, who heads the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau from whom the exemptions were issued. Just start your email with “Dear Chairman and Commissioners”;;;;;
Share this information with your friends!
Here’s what two people said:
I am angry, outraged, upset and disappointed at the recent actions taken by the FCC. I have just learned that the FCC has made a decision to grant a large number of captioning exemptions. This was a terrible decision in a recent spate of negative decisions in favor of large and small companies and ignoring the needs of people with disabilities, who don’t have the power to send programs that even the “smallest” broadcaster can send over the airwaves. That decision should not stand. It should be reversed immediately.
— Lise Hamlin
It has been ten years now since the closed captioning rules were put in place. That is plenty of time for programmers to find funding and get set up to caption their programs. The decision sets a very bad precedent. A) It is counter to the regulations at 47 CFR Part 79.1(d) that allow for certain exemptions; and (b) it is de facto rulemaking without notice. They are creating new regulations without a process. This FCC interpretation could have far reaching effects that go well beyond religious programming. The entities who asked for waivers are given consideration while those of use who will be affected are not.
— Brenda Battat
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