Right to Read Campaign

Sending this courtesy my friend Rahul Cherian

Campaign – Problem Statement

Millions of Indians are unable to read printed material due to disabilities. There are technologies available which can help them read print if the material is converted into an alternate format such as large print, audio, Braille or any electronic format. While the Indian constitution guarantees the “right to read” as a fundamental right, the copyright regime does not permit the conversion of books into accessible formats for the benefit of persons with print impairment, as a result of which a “book famine” is created.

International conventions that India is a party to specifically require India to amend its copyright laws for the benefit of persons with disabilities and to make available information and material to persons with disabilities on an equal basis as others. Publishers also do not make books available in accessible formats as a result of which less than 0.5% of books are available in accessible formats in India.

As a result persons with print impairments get excluded from the education system and it impacts their career choices. In addition to this, there are no national Policies or action plan to ensure that publications in accessible formats in all Indian languages are available to persons with print disabilities all over the country.

Objectives of the Right to Read Campaign

· To accelerate change in copyright law
· To raise public awareness on the issue
· To gather Indian support for the Treaty for the Blind proposed by
the World Blind Union at the World Intellectual Property Organisation

This campaign is part of the global Right to Read Campaign of the World Blind Union.

As part of the campaign we are creating audio visual clips of eminent persons, celebrities etc. supporting the Campaign. If you know any eminent persons, celebrities etc. who are willing to support the campaign do mail me (rahul dot cherian at inclusiveplanet dot com) so that we can arrange for their testimony to be recorded. Your support is vital for the success of this campaign. More details will follow.

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  • The government is trying too little too late!
    Literacy and education are miles apart and unless we include the poorest section of our population,our surplus humanity will be our liability rather than asset!

  • Great effort. I know that we would like our government to be more inclusive, but it does not help to sit back and complain! I know that NCERT has a policy of making books available in Braille for schools that have disabled children. I have no idea whether their policy is helpful in this campaign or not but would not hurt to look into it. Will this effort include assistance for the DEAF and Hard of Hearing persons too? Just curious. I hope this campaign goes well!