Mar 182013

ADA, Air Carriers Access Act Amendments Introduced by Senator Harkin;
Would Require Captions, Video Description in Movie Theaters, on Flights


Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), long-time champion of the rights of people with disabilities and author of the Americans with Disabilities Act, has introduced new amendments to the ADA and to the Air Carriers Access Act to expand access to media.

These new bills promise to fully include people with sensory disabilities in two key venues for entertainment and information: movie theaters and airlines. They require captions and video description in movie theaters as well as in-flight entertainment, and include provisions for making seat-back touch-screens accessible on airlines.

WGBH’s National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM: successfully conducted research and development projects on each of these innovations, and brought captions and descriptions to movie theaters in the U.S. and Canada through its patented “MoPix” technology ( NCAM also led the “Making In-flight Communication and Entertainment Accessible” project ( which prototyped captions, descriptions, and accessible displays for airline entertainment systems.

These innovative research projects were funded by the US Department of Education’s National Institute on Disability Research and Rehabilitation.

Press release from the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP):

– Thanks to NVRC, Fairfax