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Community Television of Southern California v. Gottfried

  • By: Joseph Dewey
  • In: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
  • Edited by: Genie Gertz & Patrick Boudreault
  • Subject:Physical Disabilities, Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose, & Throat)

In the decade after the U.S. Congress passed the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, before personal computers and the Internet revolutionized the transmission of news, its public access provision, the much-publicized Section 504, presented a genuine dilemma for television stations, particularly those that received federal funding, that might attempt to accommodate the estimated 20% of their viewing audience who were deaf. Section 504 provided that no handicapped person should be excluded because of disability from full participation in any activity funded by the federal government. Section 504, while sweeping, even inspiring in its pronouncement, was decidedly vague about its application. In an era when closed captioning technology was only beginning to be used and was still prohibitively expensive for broadcast stations, how would a television station ...

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