06 June 2012

Bridging the Knowledge Gap: CaptionTHIS Day of Action for Media Accessibility

Closed captioning has been available on most television programs for some time now, but with the rapid growth of the internet as a source of information and entertainment, deaf and hard of hearing people have been left behind. With some exceptions, the majority of news sites and television networks don't caption their online content.  Netflix captions approximately 40% of their content, and Amazon Instant Video none at all.

Without captions available, deaf and hard of hearing people are subject to second-class citizen treatment; deaf people work and pay taxes, but cannot access the online content offered by most government department sites, news networks, or the campaign videos by the upcoming candidates.

Failure to provide access to important news and educational information causes a knowledge gap that perpetuates the underclass status of deaf people.  Even something seemingly as small as having to pay full price for an airline ticket with in-flight entertainment deaf people can't enjoy highlights the discriminatory nature of most businesses in their attitude toward the deaf.

In this age of advanced technology, the 36 million Americans with hearing loss should and can have access to captioned media content.  And when opened to include those with with auditory processing or language disorders or second language learners, or anyone stuck in a doctor's waiting room, the number of people who benefit from closed captions grows even larger.

Today, 6/6 has been dubbed a day of action for closed captioning awareness.  Read more about the movement at Deaf Politics, and spread the word any way you can! Use #captionTHIS on Twitter to follow the movement.

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