National Federation of the Blind of Florida

 

RESOLUTION 2006 - 02

 

Concerning the Mandating Video Description for Television Broadcasting

 

         

WHEREAS,         

over 98% of households in the United States have televisions; and

 

          WHEREAS,         

television plays a critical role in our society as a vital source of news, information, local and community affairs, education, and entertainment; and

  

          WHEREAS,         

tens of millions of Americans obtain entertainment and needed information by viewing television broadcasts; and

 

          WHEREAS,         

television broadcasting has been recognized by weather services and governmental agencies as a primary means of mass communication for emergency purposes; and

 

          WHEREAS,         

the nation has a compelling public interest in furthering the safety, security and well-being of persons who are blind and visually impaired by ensuring, to the fullest extent made possible by technology, equal access to the television medium; and

 

          WHEREAS,         

the blind or otherwise print impaired do not have equal access to the information and entertainment offered to others via television; and    

 

          WHEREAS,         

digital technology facilitates the accommodation and provision of video description, enabling people who are blind or reading impaired to take full advantage of television through means of verbal narration of scrolled emergency messages, educational programs and entertainment; and

 

          WHEREAS,         

the television industry has generally resisted attempts to have it implement video description in entertainment, educational and emergency broadcasts, and

 

          WHEREAS,         

television broadcasters have not chosen to take advantage of the technology for narration that would make their broadcasts accessible to the blind; and

 

          WHEREAS,

Congress previously passed legislation to mandate Closed Captioning for people who are hard of hearing or deaf, and

 

          WHEREAS,

television broadcasters have since gained financing for Closed Captioning from major businesses in exchange for televised recognition that the closed captioning was provided by said businesses; and

 

          WHEREAS,         

U.S. Senator John McCain (Rep-AZ) and U.S. Representative Edward Markey (Dem-MA) have sponsored S. 900 and H.R. 951 that give the Federal Communications Commission authority to promulgate rules which mandate that video description technology be used:  NOW, THEREFORE,

 

BE IT RESOLVED

that the National Federation of the Blind of Florida assembled in Convention this 29 day in May, 2006 in Orlando, Florida, urges that these bills be amended to make narration of scrolled emergency warnings a priority of the proposed legislation; and

 

          BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED

that verbal narration of scrolled emergency warnings are to be mandated; and

 

          BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED

that the National Federation of the Blind of Florida hereby declares that, with such amendment, this organization strongly supports S 900 and H.R. 951; and

 

          BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED

that the National Federation of the Blind of Florida urges Florida's Congressional delegation to support this needed legislation.