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Obama To Sign Video Description Bill

Within two weeks, President Obama is expected to sign into law legislation authorizing the FCC to adopt rules mandating local TV broadcasters carry video descriptions for the blind. The measure, the Twenty-First Century Communications & Video Accessibility Act of 2010, was adopted by the Senate in August and passed the House last night. Once implemented, it would force the Big Four broadcast networks and their affiliates in the top 25 markets to provide four hours per week of prime time and children's programming with video descriptions. It exempts live or near live programming. These requirements will take effect one year after the bill's enactment.

The nation's top five cable TV networks would also have to provide the service. The FCC adopted rules similar to the pending legislation in 2000, but broadcasters and program producers challenged the FCC's authority and a federal appeals court threw out the rules in 2002.



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