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Telecommunications (TV, Radio, Internet)

Objective

To ensure that telecommunications broadcasts (via TV, radio, etc.) are as accessible to blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted viewers as possible.  This is especially important with respect to information conveyed only visually in the context of television broadcasts, and in particular, with regard to news broadcasts and emergency warnings.

Need for Action

Many television broadcasters fail to consider the needs of blind and partially sighted viewers in their programming decisions.  News broadcasts often display important news, weather or financial information against an auditory backdrop of music, without anyone necessarily vocalizing that information.  Market quotes, upcoming weather reports, community events, the name and contact information of relevant organizations, and more, are often completely inaccessible to the blind or partially sighted viewer, simply because the news anchor does not make a point of actually speaking the information that is displayed on the screen.

A greater concern relates to the broadcast of emergency messages, such as warnings regarding severe weather conditions or other critical conditions.  In many instances, these messages may just be overlaid on the current television program, with or without any auditory indication of their presence.  Blind and partially sighted viewers are thus excluded from receiving this information altogether.

Proposed Solutions

  1. Require that all pertinent information displayed during news casts (and similar type programming) be verbalized by hosts.
  2. Require that emergency broadcast messages carry with them an associated audio message, even if this does mean overriding the audio of the currently broadcasting program.

How You Can Help

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