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Archive for April, 2011

UK Fails To Support Accessible Copyright Treaty

The UK government has declined to offer full support to a draft international treaty to allow accessible versions of copyrighted works to be shared across international boundaries, giving those with print disabilities wider access to books, E-Access Bulletin has learned.

The news comes in a response to a written Parliamentary question from Lord Low, President of the European Blind Union (EBU), in which he asked for the government’s assessment of the treaty. The draft was first put forward by the World Blind Union (WBU: ) in 2009 at a standing committee of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) ( see E-Access Bulletin issue 131: ).

Canadian Broadcasting Regulator Backs Access Fund

A coalition of Canadian disability organisations is claiming a historic victory this month after the country’s broadcasting regulator backed their call for an independent trust fund working to ensure 100% accessibility of all digital broadcasting platforms by 2020. Its work programme will be designed to focus on “innovation that provides platform-neutral solutions to ensure accessibility of all broadcasting content.”

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has included establishment of the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund among conditions attached to its approval of the takeover of Canada’s largest TV network, CTV, by BCE ( ), owner of communications company Bell.


Open Marketplace Launched For Assistive Technology Ideas

An ‘ideas marketplace’ for new open source assistive technology projects has been launched by a group of academics and developers with funding from JISC, the technology agency for UK colleges and universities.

The REALISE project ( ) is an open, three-stage tool for creating new software technologies to make it easier for people with disabilities to use the internet, computers and mobile devices.


E-government for older people: Not So Easy To Help Yourself?

By Tristan Parker

Some council websites present elderly users with a range of problems which prevent them taking full advantage of the opportunities to access their local services online, according to new research from the University of Hertfordshire. This is a problem for older people, and a problem for councils too, since citizen ‘self-service’ over council websites is seen as a key way of helping local authorities save money on face to face services, crucial in these times of heavy public sector budget cuts.

‘An e-government case study of London’s older citizens’ was led by Dr Jyoti Choudrie, head of the university’s Systems Management Research Unit (SyMRU) ( ), and Vivian Songonuga, a research student and staff member at the Royal National Institute of Blind People. It examined 30 local government sites across London, plus 179 questionnaire responses and a further series of focus group interviews.