FCC – TV Broadcasters Reminded that Emergency Alerts Must Be Available to People with Disabilities

On June 30th the FCC issued a Public Notice reminding TV stations of their obligations to make emergency information accessible to persons with disabilities:

“The Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) issues this Public Notice to remind video programming distributors (VPDs)—including broadcasters, cable operators, satellite television services, and “any other distributor of video programming for residential reception that delivers such programming directly to the home and is subject to the jurisdiction of the Commission” – of their obligation under section 79.2 of the Commission’s rules to make televised emergency information accessible to persons with disabilities.

This obligation is not limited to EAS type alerts.  As noted communications lawyer David Oxenford noted:

“Specific reminders include that emergency information provided visually during any newscast must also be conveyed verbally, and emergency information provided in the audio portion of programming must be provided on screen visually.  In addition, emergency information provided visually (e.g., through crawls) during non-news programming must be provided aurally on a station’s secondary audio program (SAP) channel.  Examples of the types of emergencies covered by the rule include pandemics, extreme weather, discharge of toxic gases, widespread power failures, industrial explosions, civil disorders, and other actionable information arising from such conditions.”

To access the FCC’s Public Notice click HERE.

For more information from  David Oxenford’s Law blog by click HERE.


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