How can the United States uphold the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) if its own government doesn’t caption videos from the White House? While the White House provides closed captions (CC) for their YouTube videos, the lack of CC available on presidential and official Facebook pages and Twitter account prevents transparency and engagement with Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing followers on social media.
After the celebration of 25 years of ADA, it is time for the White House to be fully accessible to Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing citizens. By making video content accessible to everyone, the White House will show that public awareness and involvement from all people is a priority. Public access to information allows individuals to better understand the role of government and the decisions being made on their behalf. With an informed citizenry, governments can be held accountable for their policies, and citizens are able to effectively choose their representatives.
The access is essential for persons to realize their basic right to participate in the governing of their country and live under a system built on informed consent of the citizenry. Access to information is a key to democracy. All videos should also be captioned as soon as it is put up, and not 24 hours later. 24 hours later is not equivalent access.
Together, we can push for the open, transparent, and inclusive government that President Obama Barack promised. The White House should lead by example as it enforces these laws along with the ADA.
Join the #WHccNow movement!
Examples of tweets using #WHccNow hashtag. Be sure to use @whitehouse as tag and with dot (.) before @whitehouse (for example .@whitehouse) so that your tweet will show up to your ALL of your followers.
Section 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act
Section 504 requires agencies to provide individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate in their programs and benefit from their services, including the provision of information to employees and members of the public. Agencies must provide appropriate auxiliary aids where necessary to ensure an equal opportunity. Types of auxiliary aids may include brailled or large print versions of materials, electronic diskettes, audiotapes, qualified interpreters or readers, telecommunications devices for deaf persons (TDDs), captioning of video, and other methods of making information available and accessible to persons with disabilities. In considering what type of auxiliary aid to provide, agencies must give primary consideration to the request of the individual with a disability and shall honor that request, unless it can demonstrate that another effective means of communication exists.
Section 508 requires Federal agencies to ensure that persons with disabilities (both employees and members of the public) have comparable access to and use of electronic information technology. That means that any electronic and information technology used, maintained, developed, or procured by HHS must be accessible to persons with disabilities.