FCC Reverses Anglers' Order of 2006! More Captioning Likely

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FCC Reverses Anglers' Order of 2006! More Captioning Likely

Oct 21 2011

From COAT October 20, 2011

Five years ago, in October 2006, several leading disability organizations filed for a "Review of the Bureau Order" and a "Petition for Emergency Stay" at the FCC in regard to what was referred to as "the Anglers' Order."   Today, the FCC overturned the Angler's Order and the other 300 exemptions to providing captioning on TV that were based on the Anglers' Order.  

By way of background -- to illustrate how damaging the Anglers' Order was, the FCC, from 1997, when it first adopted closed captioning rules, until mid-2005 -- received fewer than 75 petitions for undue burden exemptions by providers wanting to be exempted from the closed captioning requirement. It generally handled these on a case-by-case basis as the law required. However, from October 2005 through August 2006, the FCC received over 600 such petitions requesting exemption of TV captioning. In an unexpected and unprecedented move, the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB) granted two of these petitions in the Anglers' Order, and during the two weeks that followed, granted an additional 301 petitions in reliance on the reasoning of that Order. The Order became known as "the Anglers' Order" as this was the name of one of the petitioners requesting an exemption. CGB, at that time, appeared to create a new exemption based on "hardship" and reasoned that non-profit status and assertions by petitions of the non-commercial nature of the programming was sufficient for exemption.

Disability advocates were outraged at this wholesale granting of exemptions contending that both administrative process had been violated in that there had been no public posting and processing of these exemption requests, and that the law had not been followed as petitioners had been allowed to get away with not proving undue burden on a case-by-case basis through the mass granting of such exemptions. 

See the full article at http://www.coataccess.org/node/10069