San Diego TV Stations Face Fines Over Captioning Failures During
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
February 24, 2005
WASHINGTON, DC--In an important case for advocates of accessible television, the Federal Communication Commission has proposed fines totaling $65,000 for three San Diego television stations for failing to provide timely captions or graphics for deaf or hard-of-hearing viewers during the October 2003 wildfires.
FCC Chairman Michael Powell said in a statement Wednesday that it was the first time the agency has pushed for fines against broadcasters for violating emergency closed-captioning rules.
"People with hearing disabilities have a right to the same timely emergency information as stations provide to their hearing audiences," Powell said.
During emergencies, broadcasters are required to present information in the form of closed-captions or graphics, such as a news "crawl" at the bottom of a screen or maps, "simultaneously or nearly simultaneously" as auditory information.
The FCC alleges that KUSI, KGTV, and KFMB together violated the regulations a total of 45 times on October 26 and 27 during the fires which claimed 24 lives and 3,600 homes in Southern California. The agency could have imposed $27,500 for each violation.
The stations have 30 days to appeal or pay the fines.
Closed captioning found lacking during wildfires
U.S. Federal Communications Commission