Solons want TV networks to place sub-titles to their programs

TELEVISION networks in the country may soon be required to place sub-titles or closed caption to their programs for the benefit of person with hearing disability.

Reps. Irwin Tieng and Mariano Michael Velarde (Party-list, BUHAY), authors of House Bill 6688, said the sub-stiles or captions will help in the development of reading and literacy skills of viewers not only those with hearing disabilities.

The bill defines closed-caption as a method of subtitling television programs by coding statements as vertical interval data signals that are decoded at the receiver and superimposed at the bottom of the television screen.

“Closed caption are text descriptions of the speech, music and sound effects of a television program. Although closed captioning provides a critical link to news, entertainment and information for individuals with hearing disabilities,” Tieng said.

Those which are not covered by the bill are public service announcements that are shorter than 10 minutes, programs shown in the early morning hours from 1:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. and programs that are primarily textual in nature.

Tieng said sub-titles will not only help those with hearing disabilities but those in public places where sound is inaudible or impractical.

The bill imposes a fine of not less than P50,000 but not more than P100,000 or imprisonment of not less than six months but not more than one year, or both, at the discretion of the court.

In case the offender is a corporation, partnership or association, or any other juridical person, the president, manager, administrator, or person-in-charge of the management of the business shall be held liable. In addition, the license or permit to operate its business shall be cancelled.

The bill mandates the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), in consultation with other concerned agencies and entities, to promulgate the necessary rules and regulations for the effective implementation of this Act.

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