Denying millions of viewers access to your online videos by refusing to provide closed captioning isn’t a First Amendment right - it’s a denial of accessibility. Closed captioning doesn’t just provide accessibility to millions with hearing losses, limited English proficiency, or those learning to read - it’s also beneficial to archiving your video context for future searches!
We do not want you to change anything about your website, nor your video content - simply that you provide equal access by captioning your online video. Closed captioning isn’t an expensive process, especially for a company the size of CNN.
On May 19, 2012, CNN released an online video of President Obama talking about backing tougher bank standards, accusing the GOP and financial lobbyists of trying to undo reforms meant to protect taxpayers from big banks. Clicking on this video, a deaf college student wouldn’t be able to understand what President Obama is saying - how can this student make an educated decision and vote on whether or not this President should serve another term?
To succeed as an country, we need to ensure that everybody has equal access to information, both on cable and online. Captioning is required by law for TV shows, so why should you claim that not captioning online video is about editorial control or an expression of free speech?
If all online videos were done in American Sign Language with no audio, and we refused to caption or add audio translation, you would be in the same shoes as deaf people are. Watch #captionTHIS on youtube, and understand how we feel.
If you want to complain that captioning services cost money, bear in mind that captioning will benefit you as well, giving you a text archive of what’s in the video, thus making your videos searchable - something Google has been doing! Captioning your video is beneficial for everybody, and refusing to provide equal access is detrimental to everybody as well.
You are denying millions access to your online videos by refusing to provide closed captioning, at the detriment of everybody involved. The refusal to provide captions is NOT an issue of editorial control nor an expression of free speech, but rather the denial of accessibility. We urge you to start captioning ALL of your online videos, and to bear in mind that the cost of captioning is minor for a company your size - especially since doing so is beneficial for yourself as well as millions of your viewers. You would enjoy the benefit of having your videos searchable (such as Google has been doing), and enjoy an increase in your traffic. Closed captions would also greatly benefit your audience such as those with hearing losses, limited English proficiency, and those new to English.
Please do the right thing and start providing equal access to your videos by captioning them.
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