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UN Programme on Disability   Working for full participation and equality


Article 21 - Freedom of expression and opinion, and access to information
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Working Group draft text

Draft Article 13

States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure that persons with disabilities can exercise their right to freedom of expression and opinion through Braille, sign language,40 and other modes of communication41 of their choice, and to seek, receive and impart information, on an equal footing with others, including by:

a. providing public information to persons with disabilities, on request, in a timely manner and without additional cost, in accessible formats42 and technologies of their choice, taking into account different kinds of disability;

b. accepting the use of alternative modes of communication by persons with disabilities in official interactions;

c. educating persons with disabilities to use alternative and augmentative communication modes;

d. undertaking and promoting the research, development and production of new technologies, including information and communication technologies, and assistive technologies, suitable for persons with disabilities;

e. promoting other appropriate forms of assistance and support to persons with disabilities to ensure their access to information;43

f. encouraging44 private entities that provide services to the general public to provide information and services in accessible and usable formats for persons with disabilities;

g. encouraging the mass media to make their services accessible to persons with disabilities.




40: Some members of the Working Group consider that this draft Article should include a reference to sign language as the natural language of deaf people in their access to information, communication, services, participation and education.
41: The Ad Hoc Committee may wish to consider the most appropriate terms to use in this draft Article. "Mode of communication", "format" (used in paragraph (a)), and "alternative and augmentative communication modes" (used in paragraph (c)) have related, but not identical meanings.
42: The Ad Hoc Committee may wish to consider whether it should include mention of specific formats in this paragraph, such as plain language or easy-to-read formats.
43: The Ad Hoc Committee may wish to consider expanding this sub-paragraph to cover the provision and training of live assistance and intermediaries, such as Braille and caption transcribers, note-takers, sign language and tactile communication interpreters, and readers.
44: The Ad Hoc Committee may wish to consider whether 'encourage' is the best term to use in paragraphs (f) and (g).

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