Information and communication barriers

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Information and communication barriers can include:

  • Information that is only provided auditorily, requiring individuals to be able to hear (planning discussions, sirens, loudspeakers, voiced instructions). 
  • Information that is only provided visually, requiring the person to be able to see (maps, signs, pointing “go over there”, written instructions). 
  • Information that is provided in text format only, requiring literacy for understanding. 
  • Comprehension or processing of information that is too complex (fast paced, multi step instructions, discussions using unfamiliar terms, acronyms and concepts, terms with double meaning).
  • Information provided in a single language, limiting or excluding speakers of other languages.
  • Cultural differences impacting communication.

Addressing communication and information barriers contribute to successful inclusion of persons with disabilities, persons with reading difficulties and older persons. This includes removing barriers from the design phase of disaster risk reduction activities and throughout every phase of implementation to ensure all elements are inclusive and accessible.

Engagement of organisations of persons with disabilities (DPOs) as partners in all disaster risk reduction initiatives is an imperative for identifying and removing communication obstacles and barriers. This includes establishing policies and procedures for providing communication access, utilizing information and communication technologies and other tools. and taking appropriate measures to ensure information and communication access is provided to women, men, girls and boys with disabilities and older persons on an equal basis with others. 

Communication barriers can be eliminated by:

  • Providing information in accessible formats and technologies appropriate to different types of in a timely manner and without additional cost.
  • Accepting and facilitating the use of sign languages, Braille, augmentative and alternative communication, and all other accessible means, modes and formats of communication of their choice by persons with disabilities in official interactions.
  • Urging private entities that provide services to the general public, including through the Internet, to provide information and services in accessible and usable formats for persons with disabilities and older persons.
  • Encouraging the mass media, including providers of information through the Internet, to make their services accessible to persons with disabilities.

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