On the occasion of the 37th EPRA meeting, which took place on 8-10 May 2013 in Kraków in Poland, a working group gathered representatives from over 25 regulatory authorities in Europe for a round table discussion on Access to Audiovisual Media Services for persons with disabilities.
Keynote speaker Mia Ahlgren, representing the European Disability Forum, an umbrella organisation for European Disability NGOs and a network on ICT accessibility, presented the recent activities of EDF (inter alia the campaigns on Freedom of movement and web accessibility) and the issues at stake.
Her presentation was followed by a lively and fruitful exchange with the participants of the round table which focused on the quality of subtitles, the issue of costs in times of economic crisis, and on the role of access services for democracy and societal participation. Participants agreed on the importance of a holistic, multi-stakeholder approach to accessibility.
A comparative document on Access to Audiovisual Media Services compiling answers from 31 regulatory authorities in Europe provided background information for the working group. The paper presents an overview on the general legal framework and broadcasters’ obligations with regard to subtitling, signing and audio description for linear and on-demand audiovisual media services, on measures concerning the accessibility of end-user TV equipment, on the role played by broadcasting regulators in accessibility policies, and on issues of costs.