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Accessibility Policy making - An international perspective Nirmita Narasimhan Centre for Internet and Society, India.

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Presentation on theme: "Accessibility Policy making - An international perspective Nirmita Narasimhan Centre for Internet and Society, India."— Presentation transcript:

1 Accessibility Policy making - An international perspective Nirmita Narasimhan Centre for Internet and Society, India

2 Agenda The Information Age Barriers UNCRPD Accessibility policies around the world Considerations for a Good policy

3 The Information Age Unprecedented opportunities for persons with disabilities to participate in society Access to knowledge, information and services Possibility of ensuring equal opportunities for all Inclusion and participation in society Involvement in social, cultural, business and administrative processes

4 Barriers Inaccessible and unaffordable technologies Inaccessible web sites Unsupportive laws Lack of awareness Lack of accountability on the internet

5 UNCRPD Recognises that accessibility to information and services is vital for persons with disabilities to enjoy a complete inclusive and participatory life in society Recognises accessibility on the internet as a fundamental element for persons with disabilities to exercise their rights Art 9 requires all information technologies to be accessible to persons with disabilities Various countries have recognised the need for accessibility, even before the coming into force of the UNCRPD and formulated laws and policies to give effect to this.

6 Accessibility Policy Study Key step in policy making Researching available options in neighbouring countries Learning from past mistakes and best practices Cut your cloth to suit your needs

7 Accessibility policies around the world We now examine the policies across seven countries to give us an idea of the modalities involved in formulating a policy on internet accessibility the implications and repercussions in different countries effective implementation and monitoring models and possibilities for improvement Countries examined: Australia, Germany, India, Japan, Korea, UK, USA

8 Accessibility policies : Australia Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) enacted in1992 – DDA Advisory notes for web accessibility published in 2002 ; applicable to all service providers – Guide to minimum website standards in 2000 and revised in 2003 Guidelines compliant with WCAG 1.0 Advisory notes and guidelines not legally enforceable but DDA provisions are (case law: Maguire vs. SOCOG, 2000) Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) promotes DDA objectives and provides advice on implications and monitoring

9 Accessibility policies : Germany Act on Equal Opportunities for Disabled persons (2002) – Web Accessibility covered by Barrier free Information technology Ordinance (BiTV) – Federal BiTV based on WCAG 1.0; state level standards non uniform – Barrier free environment also includes communication, living environments etc. Applicable to authorities, health insurances and other bodies, foundations and public institutions Legally enforceable Federal govt appoints a commissioner for the Interests of persons with disabilities Ordinance effectiveness to be reviewed periodically

10 Accessibility policies : India Generic legislation – Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights & Full Participation) Act 1995 – No accessibility specific legislation or policy yet – Policy is work in progress government working with NGOs and disability rights groups to frame policy Signatory to both UNCRPD (2006) and Biwako Millennium framework towards an Inclusive, Barrier-free and Rights-based Society for PWDs in Asia and the Pacific (2002) In absence of domestic law on accessibility, international conventions and norms are read into domestic law where they do not contradict enacted domestic law

11 Accessibility policies : Japan No overall legislation, web and electronic accessibility covered by Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS) X 8341 Not legally binding, open to substantial interpretation Guidelines mandatory for government agencies, optional for others Some guidelines borrowed from WCAG with compliance issues arising from nature of Japanese language and character set

12 Accessibility policies : South Korea Disability Discrimination Act (2007) – provides rights, reasonable accommodations, agencies and defines web accessibility obligations – Informatization act (2009) covers ICT access and usage for PWDs and the elderly – Guidelines for improving accessibility (2002) Guidelines based on WCAG 1.0 and 2.0 5 policy groups - Developing and supplying assistive technologies for PWD, operating ICT accessibility programs, developing ICT accessibility standards, conducting research; and increasing awareness

13 Accessibility policies : UK Generic legislation - Disability Discrimination Act (1995, amended 2005), no accessibility specific legislation – Code of Practice: outlines duties under the DDA and provides best practice guidelines – PAS 78 (2006): guide to commissioning accessible websites, partial reference to WCAG Applicable to any service provider – both public and private

14 Accessibility policies : USA Generic legislation like Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA – 1990), Rehabilitation Act(1973) – Sec 508 of Rehabilitation Act (1973 amended 1998), covers web accessibility but is not compliant with WCAG – Sec 251 (a)(2) and 255 of Telecommunications Act (1996) require communications services and equipment to be accessible by PWDs Sec 508 applicable to federal government websites and agencies receiving federal funding; state government requirements and standards vary Signed UNCRPD only in 2009

15 Accessibility Policies: Summary Chart depicting the position of countries with respect to the types of accessibility policies (legislation vs. policy) and scope of coverage (whether only generic or web or covering other aspects of accessibility as well). The countries best placed score high on both aspects. Scope of Coverage High (covers web+ other infrastructure) Low (only generic or web) High (Legislation and guideline or policy) Low (only guideline or policy) Type of policy JapanUSA Germany Korea India UK Australia

16 Accessibility Policies : Key Features Coverage – types of accessibility included e.g. web, electronic, other Scope - legislation vs. policy WCAG compliance Applicability – public sector only or private sector as well Mechanisms for review, monitoring and compliance

17 Considerations for a Good Policy Futuristic Interoperable with other policies Leave room for modification Unambiguous and clear in its mandate Determine accountability Ensure a smooth and effective mechanism for implementation and evaluation Involve both the public and private sector Have a definite time frame for implementation Involve persons with disabilities in every stage of the policy formulation and implementation process

18 Thank You !

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