June 15, 2011; Source: Mercury News | A Berkeley, Calif., nonprofit wants CNN.com to provide captions for videos of news programs it posts to the web. Currently federal law only requires that broadcast and cable television content be closed-captioned for the deaf or hearing impaired. Claiming the lack of closed captions on videos is both a hardship and violation of California's Unruh Civil Rights Act, the Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) is suing CNN's owner, Time Warner.
DRA, which is representing the Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness and three individuals in its court action, issued a statement saying, "Time Warner's refusal to provide captioning of its videos is astounding given how central the Internet is in today's communication environment. The lack of captioned videos means that millions of people with hearing loss will continue to be denied equal access to video news content on CNN.com."
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Daniel Jacob, one of three individual plaintiffs in the lawsuit, says, "The era of waiting for the 6 o'clock news is over. I simply want an equal opportunity to view news videos on CNN.com's website at my convenience like most people can." The Oakland Tribune reports that traffic to the CNN website spikes when news breaks. The newspaper notes that after the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, CNN.com received 67 million global pageviews on just one day and that just about "every user who visited CNN.com that day watched a video."—Bruce Trachtenberg