Regarding the lack of accessibility of information and communication in International Sign of the EU’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
20 March 2020
On the 14th of November 2018, the Council of the European Union formally adopted the revised Audio-Visual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) and it’s now published in the Official Journal of the EU. This is the final step in the legislative process. The revised AVMSD entered into force on the 20th day after its publication in the Official Journal of the EU and since then, Member States of the EU have 21 months to transpose it into national legislations.
Revised AVMSD significantly improved Article 7 on the accessibility of audiovisual media services. The AVMS directive of 2010 only called upon Member States to encourage media service providers in their country to ensure that their services are gradually made accessible to people who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or partially sighted, but it did not create any obligations. The revised AVMSD sets out the legal obligation for Member States to ensure, that public and commercial TV channels, as well as video on-demand platforms (such as HBO, Netflix) make their services continuously and progressively more accessible to persons with disabilities through proportionate measures. The recital of the revised AVMSD dictates that the means to achieve the accessibility of audiovisual media services are, but not limited to, the provision of sign language, subtitling for the deaf and hard of hearing, spoken subtitles, and audio description.
Regarding emergency information which is made available to the public through audiovisual media services, the revised AVMSD obliges Member States to ensure that such information is provided in a manner which is accessible to persons with disabilities.
Moreover, the revised AVMSD dictates that Member States must ensure that media service providers report on a regular basis to the national regulatory authorities or bodies on the implementation of the measures that make their services more accessible to persons with disabilities. Member States will also have to report to the European Commission on the implementation of such measures by the 19th of December 2022 and then every three years thereafter. Furthermore, Member States are obliged to designate a single and accessible contact point to provide information and to receive complaints from viewers regarding accessibility.
These remarkable improvements must now be transposed into the national laws in all Member States. EUD is currently preparing a toolkit for transposition and in a meantime is available for advice and support to NADs with regards to advocacy work on a national level for a strong transposition of revised AVMSD into national law.
Revised Audio-Visual Media Services Directive in official EU languages
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