Deaf Football Fan Granted Right

18 Oct 2010

First Austrian judgement because of lack of subtitles


A deaf man who was supported by „Klagsverband - Litigation Association of NGOs against Discrimination” exhibited a lawsuit. The Commercial Court of Vienna concluded that it is a discrimination of people with disabilities if there are no subtitles. The deaf man bought the DVD „100 Jahre Sturm Graz“, which was produced by ORF (Austrian Broadcasting Corporation) in the year 2009, but he was not able to understand the content due to the lack of subtitles.

Volker Frey, secretary-general of Klagsverband, explained that this was the first sentence in Austria, on the basis of the unavailability of subtitles. Especially great significance is attributed to this legal decision. „The sentence is a clear signal that discrimination of people with disabilities is unacceptable“, says Frey. The Court shared this opinion and referred to the Federal Disability Equality Act. The judge stated in his ruling that the cost of subtitling would not have meant undue financial burden for ORF.

The Court has awarded the complainant € 700.- Euro for damages. The complainant might have expected a higher amount. The awarded compensation is low because since 2006 ORF is legally required to design his products free from barriers.

The sentence has not yet been enforced, as ORF has the option to appeal against it.


Text copyright: OEGLB (Austrian Deaf Association)