The Strategy describes this area of action to work to “ensure accessibility to goods, services including public services and assistive devices for persons with disabilities”.
Accessibility for public websites for deaf means for example providing for information in Sign Language on public websites, as this is where information on public services are usually provided for making it essential to fully enjoy and independent life as a citizen. However, only 9 per cent of the countries reply that many of the public websites have information in Sign Language.45per cent say this is provided for in only a few public websites and 41per cent find this not found in any public websites.
Accessibility on public TV channels means preferably programmes in national Sign Language, Sign Language interpreting or at least subtitling. This survey focused in interpreting and subtitling. Sign Language interpreting is found in many programmes in only 5 per cent of the countries, whist the vast majority, in 90 per cent of the countries this is found in few programmes on public TV channels and in 5per cent this is not found at all. Regarding subtitling on programmes, this is found in many programmes in 60per cent of the countries, 35 per cent find it in few programmes and in 5 per cent of the countries this is not provided for at all.
One needs to understand that accessibility is a wide concept including also linguistic and cultural accessibility. This means sign language environments with people using and mastering some national sign language in work places, schools, different educational environments, learning materials and different media in sign language, meeting governmental officials who use sign language, and service providers etc. So, in this sense sign language interpreting services is much more nature of reasonable accommodation, and this alone cannot replace linguistic and cultural accessibility. Unfortunately, this survey does not cover this difference because of limited time and resources available.
There are 31 Sign Languages in the EU Member States. For more information, see: Wheatley, M. & Pabsch, A. (2012). Sign Language Legislation in the European Union - Edition II. Brussels: EUD. (http://www.eud.eu/publication/book-publications).