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Reinstatement of Video Description

On August 25, 2011, the FCC finally reinstated Video Description by a unanimous vote, effective July 1, 2012!  Here are Commissioner Mignon Clyburn's comments.  [deleted expired link].

STATEMENT OF
COMMISSIONER MIGNON L. CLYBURN
TO APPROVE

Re: Video Description: Implementation of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, Report & Order

In restoring the video description regulations that the Commission previously adopted in 2000, we further expand access to video programming and take another step toward the fulfillment of the rulemakings sought by the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA). In responding to the full intent of Congress, we have acted in a manner that will enable certain citizens among us to reap the benefits of televised content in an even more complete way, ending a wait that has gone on for far too long.

I often speak about the rich diversity of this country, and when doing so I am usually making mention of varying ethnicities or my fellow female citizens. However, the beneficiaries of the rulemaking we release today are part of a group that isn't often included under the umbrella of diversity in this context, but it should be. Our blind and visually-impaired family members, friends, and neighbors have been waiting for user-friendly communications services that address their needs in an equal and thorough way, and this action gets them one step closer to enjoying something that so many of us take for granted.

In providing video description, America's blind community will not only be able to enjoy the entertainment that video content providers offer, but they will also be part of the conversations around it. I want to stress this, as I can imagine how left out a visually-impaired child feels when his or her classmates are discussing what happened on a popular show the night before, and to not be a part of that conversation or be able to follow along. The same is true for blind adults, for whom the proverbial water cooler chats about TV shows hold little meaning or enjoyment. This item will assist those individuals in getting even closer to the mainstream when it comes to popular culture, and we are a better and more complete nation for it.

The July 1, 2012 date of enactment will allow users of video description to enjoy the new TV shows of next fall from the beginning, which is an integral component of the social importance of this item. Further, with the 22nd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act falling on July 26, 2012, I am ecstatic that the video description improvements we implement via this Order will be in place.

I want to congratulate the visually-impaired community for their tireless and extraordinary efforts toward this historic development, and am honored to be part of the culmination of such determination and passion.