On the 13th of March, ENS (Ente Nazionale per la protezione e l'assistenza dei Sordi – Onlus or Italian National Agency for the protection and assistance of the Deaf) launched a protest to request that communications to the country by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on the evolution of the Coronavirus emergency are accessible to the whole deaf community through the interpreting service in LIS (Italian Sign Language).
The mean for the protest chosen was mailbombing the Prime Minister's email inbox to make sure that he and his offices receive the message that deaf people have the right to be informed and protected like all other citizens in the best way possible.
In a few days more than 2500 people joined ENS’s appeal. The press and some Members of Parliament gave visibility to the protest and many shared the various posts that ENS published on the main social networks. Today (7th April 2020), ENS can say that the effort of theircommunity has paid off.
The communications of the Prime Minister have been and will be made accessible in Sign Language, the Italian Public Broadcasting Service has intensified accessibility services regarding the Covid-19 emergency and the daily press conferences of the Civil Protection havebeen translated into LIS.
Unfortunately, there are still many issues to be resolved: for instance, the accessibility of information from private television networks, and of institutional communications at local level, the impossibility for a deaf person to call the emergency number independently and the lack of full accessibility in hospitals.
These will be the next fights.