Many people get information about how to vote and the different candidates standing for election through television broadcasts in the run up to election day. However, some people with disabilities face significant barriers in accessing this kind of information. In particular, people with hearing impairments may find television programmes hard to access without the provision of subtitles or sign language interpretation, while persons with visual impairments benefit from audio description if programmes. Where they exist, national legal requirements regarding the accessibility of television programming typically cover both public and private broadcasters.
This indicator measures whether television programmes providing instructions for voting and information on candidates standing for election are accessible to persons with disabilities. It considers three different ways of making such broadcasts more accessible: providing subtitles, offering national sign language interpretation, and use of audio-description.
When developing this indicator, FRA set out to gather information on the proportion of television broadcasts providing instructions for voting and information on candidates that were made accessible for persons with disabilities in these three ways. However, the analysis indicates that no directly comparable data is available. The three maps below instead show Member States where data indicate that there is some subtitling, sign language interpretation and audio description of these programmes.
Are some television programmes providing instructions for voting and information on candidates subtitled?
Source: FRA, 2014.
Evidence collected by FRA indicates that subtitling of some programmes providing instruction on voting and information on candidates is available in half (15) of EU Member States. Subtitling is mostly available in the daily news programming provided by the main public television broadcaster. For example, information provided by the national Austrian Broadcasting Company ORF indicates that 63% of political information broadcasts, including daily newscasts and weekly political information programmes, have national language subtitles. In Latvia, the public broadcaster LTV showed video clips prepared by the Central Election Commission ahead of the recent municipal and parliamentary elections, which included information about voting times and the possibility to apply to vote at home.
Do some television programmes providing instructions for voting and information on candidates have national sign language interpretation?
Source: FRA, 2014.
Turning to the provision of sign language interpretation, the analysis highlighted 11 Member States where some television programmes providing instructions for voting and information on candidates have sign language interpretation. As with subtitling, sign language interpretation is often offered for daily news bulletins broadcast by public television channels; this is the case in Austria, Cyprus, Italy, and Estonia, for example. The three French public TV broadcasters France 2, France 3 and France 5 provide sign language interpretation for some programmes including the weekly parliamentary questions. More specifically, in Italy short clips providing instructions for voting broadcasted by public television are translated into Italian sign language.
Are some television programmes providing instructions for voting and information on candidates audio described?
Audio description of programmes providing instructions for voting and information on candidates is much less widely available than subtitling or sign language interpretation. Evidence that some such broadcasts included audio description was found in only 5 EU Member States. In Cyprus in the daily news bulletin is audio described, while in Spain the information campaigns and videos prepared by public authorities to provide instructions for voting have audio description. For the 2011 municipal elections six different videos and radio spots, in Spanish and in the four co-official languages, were prepared including audio description.