So it seems like we have been posting about Closed Captioning issues at least once a month recently, and this month is no exception as word comes now that the FCC is expecting to ratchet up enforcement of its closed captioning rules as it has now become easier for consumers to file complaints directly to the FCC. Today, the FCC released a Public Notice aimed at informing consumers of just how easy it is to file complaints with the FCC regarding closed captioning. The Notice also instructs viewers on how they can find contact information for video programming providers in order to contact satellite providers, cable systems, and broadcast television stations directly with any issues they may have. Today’s Public Notice, a copy of which is available here, is specifically aimed at viewers and touts that: "The simplified complaint rules make it easier for consumers to bring their concerns about closed captions on television to the attention of the Commission."
Today’s notice comes on the heels of public statements made earlier this week about the fact that the FCC intends to ramp up its enforcement of the captioning rules. According to trade press reports, the Deputy Chief of the FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau believes that the DTV transition has resulted in an increased number of captioning issues, and that the FCC expects to step up enforcement in this area to respond to the growing number of complaints. So television stations, cable operators, and satellite television providers are on notice that the FCC is paying close attention to closed captioning issues. Video programming providers should be vigilant to ensure that they are complying with the rules and that they respond promptly and thoroughly to any inquiry or complaint from either a viewer or the FCC. Further details about the recent changes to the closed captioning complaint rules can be found in our earlier post here.