Action Center
Tell Sinclair Broadcast Group To Return to Live Captioners!
Recently, Sinclair Broadcast Group has made public their decision to abandon the use of stenographic captions in favor of the cost-cutting measure of implementing the automatic speech recognition platform using IBM Watson. This decision is likely to impact hundreds of local news stations and affect millions of captioning consumers and providers. 

In a message to the public, IBM claims that Watson makes live programming “more accessible to local viewers, including the Deaf community, senior citizens, and anyone experiencing hearing loss.” We strongly disagree with the decision to abandon the human element of captioning, which is what makes captioning the amazing accessibility tool that it is, in favor of automation. This decision will invariably result in subpar captioning for consumers and will negatively affect accessibility to local news for millions of Americans.

NCRA’s Government Relations Department and Captioning Regulatory Policy Committee, our own member-formed FCC watchdog, are working hard to address this issue, to register our concerns with the FCC and to implore them to uphold important captioning quality standards in light of this new transition to ASR Captioning. But the FCC needs to hear from you too! If you disagree with Sinclair's decision to use IBM Watson Captioning, if you think that live captioners are the best suited to caption for local news, and if you think that consumers deserve better than what Sinclair is doing, then please sign our petition!
Petition Text
Recently, Sinclair Broadcast Group has made public their decision to abandon the use of stenographic captions in favor of implementing the automatic  speech recognition platform using IBM Watson. This decision is likely to impact hundreds of local news stations and affect millions of captioning consumers and providers. In a message to the public, IBM claims that Watson makes live programming “more accessible to local viewers, including the Deaf community, senior citizens, and anyone experiencing hearing loss.”

We strongly disagree with the decision to abandon the human element of captioning, which is what makes captioning the amazing accessibility tool that it is, in favor of automation. This decision will invariably produce subpar captioning on live programming across the country and will negatively affect accessibility to local news for millions of Americans.

We, the undersigned, state:
  • that Artificial Intelligence can never provide captioning services as intuitively, accurately, and efficiently as trained, certified stenographic captioners.
  • that Americans with hearing disabilities deserve better captioning than can be provided by artificial intelligence and automated speech recognition.
  • our opposition to Sinclair Broadcast Group's decision to transition away from stenographic captioning to IBM Watson captioning
  • our desire of Sinclair Broadcast Group to commit to satisfying federally mandated captioning quality standards by reversing this decision and continuing to utilize stenographic captioning.
 
 

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