WASHINGTON, July 13, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Council of the Blind applauds the Federal Communications Commission's recently adopted new rules increasing the number of hours of audio-described programming available on top-rated broadcast and cable networks. Advocating for Americans who are blind or visually impaired, ACB played an active role in the passage of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA), which paved the way for video-described programming.
"ACB is excited the FCC adopted new rules providing a 75 percent increase in the number of hours of audio-described programming available," said ACB president Kim Charlson. "Every day, ACB strives to increase the equality of opportunity for people who are blind or visually impaired, and access to audio-described programming gives those of us who are blind a chance to enjoy entertainment with sighted friends and colleagues."
The new FCC rules, effective July 1, 2018, require audio-described programming be available from 6 a.m. to midnight, maintaining the 50 hours of prime time and children's programing and adding 37.5 hours of additional audio-described content. The networks that must currently comply with this rule are ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, Disney Channel, History, TBS, TNT, and USA. Audio description, also referred to as video description, provides spoken descriptions of on-screen action during pauses in dialogue, enhancing the viewing experience for individuals who are unable to see the screen or action taking place around them.
"We see this as a step forward for equal access," said ACB executive director Eric Bridges. "And we'll continue to seek out new pathways forward for further expansion of audio description wherever possible."
Based in Alexandria, Va., ACB is a membership organization of diverse individuals who come together to protect the civil rights of people who are blind or visually impaired. Through advocacy, education and partnerships with consumer organizations, technology companies and corporations, ACB works to enhance access to information, technology, break down barriers to employment, and strives to improve the equality of opportunity for people who are blind or visually impaired.