Press Release
September 28, 2013

Poe pushes for PWD-friendly TV programs

Senator Grace Poe has filed a measure requiring television (TV) franchise holders or station operators and producers to use closed caption methods in their broadcasts or programs.

"The goal of this bill is to provide our hearing-impaired citizens equal access to a variety of television programs," said Poe, chairman of the Senate committee on public information and mass media.

Senate Bill 1656 mandates all franchise holders or operators of television stations and producers of TV programs to broadcast their programs with closed captions-defined in this bill as a "method of subtitling TV programs by coding statements as vertical interval data signals that are decoded at the receiver and superimposed at the bottom of the TV screen."

Poe explained that other countries, have already enacted a similar legislation. In 2010, the United States passed its "21st century Communications and Video Accessibility Act" aimed at giving persons with hearing disabilities access to television. The New South Wales issued a government memorandum, titled, "The Captioning of Government Advertising and Public Information Videos." Meanwhile, Canada also issued a similar policy named "Accessibility of Telecommunications and Broadcasting Services."

Poe said exemptions will be given to franchise holders or operators of TV stations and program producers if the proposed implementation of closed caption is found to be "economically burdensome." This will be determined by "the nature and cost of closed captions for the programming, the impact on the operation of the provider or producer, financial resources, and the type of operations."

To be exempt from the use of closed captions shall be public service announcements that are shorter than 10 minutes; programs shown from 1:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m.; and programs that are primarily textual in nature.

The National Telecommunication Commission and the Movie Television Review and Classification Board, in consultation with other concerned agencies, shall promulgate the rules and regulations for the effective implementation of bill once it is enacted into law.

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