Promote social inclusion by passing the closed captioning ordinance in Pawtucket, RI
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The Pawtucket City Council needs to pass the ordinance to require televisions in public places during regular hours to have closed captioning turned on and left on. This is a simple solution which benefits a significant number of people and costs almost nothing to turn on. However, a small number of people think they have the freedom and the right to exclude people. We need your support to show that they are wrong and that the public should be able to access information equally at all times.
Public places include restaurants, bars, hotel lobbies, fitness centers, and waiting rooms where televisions are visible to the public. When turned on, closed captioning on televisions makes sure that the public can read text of the dialogue and other important sounds. This information is critical during breaking news of storms, natural disasters, terrorist attacks and other life threatening situations. In most cases, the closed captioning is not turned on quickly enough for the public to completely benefit from the information.
When turned off, a significant number of people in the public are excluded from enjoying programs and accessing information. According to a study, about 1 out of every 5 people use closed captioning on their televisions, even if they are not Deaf or Hard of Hearing. Closed captioning has an additional benefit of boosting the literacy rate for people of all ages. In noisy public places or when the volume on televisions cannot be turned up, closed captioning increases the number of people who can benefit from the television programs.
Almost all television programs are required by federal law to include closed captioning which can be turned on or off by the viewer. All modern televisions include closed captioning and most can be turned on by pressing the "CC" button on a remote control. In fact, many public places already have closed captioning turned on or routinely turn it on at the request of the public.
The new ordinance will make sure that televisions in public places have closed captioning turned on and left on. Other cities such as Portland, Oregon and Ann Arbor, Michigan have a similar ordinance which had few complaints and a lot of success. With your support, Pawtucket and many more cities around the country will have this ordinance and create more social inclusion.
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