International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (G3ict) have jointly released a policy document that will ensure the digital inclusion of persons with disabilities.
The report titled “Model ICT Accessibility Policy,” noted that although many countries have information and communication technology (ICT) laws, policies and regulations that generally support the principles of universal access to ICT, the needs of the disability community are different and require a deliberate additional focus on ICT accessibility by legislators, policy-makers and regulators aimed at removing barriers to ICT use.
The report is designed to guide national policy-makers and regulators in creating their own ICT accessibility policy frameworks in consultation with persons with disabilities.
It focuses on different aspects of ICT accessibility, namely amendments to the existing ICT legal framework, public ICT access, mobile communications, television/video programming, government websites and public procurement of accessible ICTs.
“ITU is working with all stakeholders towards global ICT accessibility and affordability in all countries and regions and by all peoples, including persons with disabilities,” says ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré. “There is no doubt that ICTs can enable and accelerate access to resources such as education and health care for persons with disabilities leading to their greater social, economic and political inclusion.”
“The report contains concrete steps that can be taken to make meaningful rules and regulations to ensure that ICT accessibility becomes a reality on the ground,” says Mr Brahima Sanou, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau. “It helps regulators and policy makers to become action-oriented.”
“ITU’s leadership in promoting ICT accessibility plays an important role in realizing the promises of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”, says Axel Leblois, President and Executive Director of G3ict.
“The report, which is the result of seven years of cooperation between ITU and G3ict, offers easy to use policy frameworks inspired by existing good practices and available technologies from around the world. It also emphasizes the critical importance of involving relevant stakeholders in developing and monitoring ICT accessibility policies with the active participation of persons with disabilities.”
Leblois added that “it is our hope that the model policies presented in the report will help accelerate the accessibility of essential ICT products and services for citizens of all abilities.”
The Model ICT accessibility policy report is developed for ICT policy-makers, regulators and other stakeholders active in ICT and/or disability issues, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), organizations of persons with disabilities and parliamentarians, according to the UN specialised agency for ICTs.