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Action Alert: Closed Captioning Threatened!

On Wed. Sept 13, 2006, the FCC issued one of the worst decisions it has ever issued on closed captioning. The Order is on the web site shown below. Basically the order grants two requests for exemptions from the requirement to closed caption, a requirement in place since 1996 and that has ensured more and more closed captioning on television.

In taking this action, the FCC states that it is "inclined favorably" to grant new exemption requests to organizations that do "not receive compensation from video programming distributors from the airing of [their] programs," and who also say they "may terminate or substantially curtail [their] programming" or "[curtail] other activities important to [their] mission" if forced to caption.

The gist of what the FCC has done is to open the door to many more exemptions. It appears also the FCC's action creates a rule change that defines a new category of exemption from the captioning rules, cutting the legs out from the current "undue burden" proof currently needed to get an exemption for captioning requirement.

What the FCC has done is very serious. This new interpretation of the rules for asking for an exemption from having to closed caption has far reaching effects that go well beyond the specific TV programming in these two Orders and could extend to any entity, regardless of its resources, if they can make a case that "we cant afford it" or "it might shut us down."

Please contact the following persons at the FCC and send thousands of emails and letters protesting this decision. Thank you for caring about this!

Sample email. Please customize:

"In Re DA 06-1802, CGB-CC-0005 and CGB-CC-0007

Dear FCC Chairman, I protest the recent Orders granting exemptions from closed captioning issued by CGB. These Orders appear to create a new regulation, carving out a new exemption basis, not in keeping with current regulations. We are outraged and believe the FCC has created a loophole that almost any entity crying "it costs too much" can now use. Please reconsider immediately! We need our closed captioning!

Your name
Your address."

Thousands of calls and emails should be sent to the FCC Chairman and Commissioners. 

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