A Maltese MEP is putting pressure on the European Commission to introduce progressive and sustainable measures for the delivery of accessible audio-visual programmes in Europe to people with disabilities, in particular via subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing.
Alex Agius Saliba said he is pushing this policy to “help people with disabilities and protect their fundamental human rights of access to information and education.”
Partial or complete loss of hearing is a condition that affects more than 83 million people in the EU.
“In a modern digital world, having access to information and accessible TV and programmes will play a crucial role in enabling full and equal participation of people with disabilities into society. Unfortunately, people with disabilities are still very restricted and have minimal access to such services,” Agius Saliba said.
“By making television accessible for people with disabilities, we will help create inclusive societies, enhance people’s national identity, and provide access to news and information.”
The MEP said that it was essential that a concrete set of measures that foster active integration and unrestricted participation of people with disabilities in social life be rolled out, and one of those measures is to provide accessible TV to everyone.
“People who live with some form of disability are unable to enjoy the audio-visual content that comes to their homes. Today we have the solutions that can remove existing barriers and make it possible for people with disabilities to enjoy television and audio-visual content fully,” Agius Saliba pointed out.
“People with disabilities should be protected against discrimination and should be able to exercise their rights to information and education fully, including by guaranteeing equal access to broadcasting, news, tv programmes, films, theatre plays, and other related activities. As a member of the European Parliament’s Disability Network, I will continue raising awareness and promoting equal rights and opportunities in the EU and the Member States for people with disabilities,” he ended.