The Right to Read Campaign, now in Delhi
The Right to Read campaign, this time in Delhi, the national capital of the country has been announced. This is the third in the series. The previous two held in Calcutta and Chennai were highly successful and Delhi too promises quite a lot.
About 70 million Indians are unable to read printed material owing to various forms of disabilities. According to industry estimates, around 80,000-100,000 books get published every year in India of which only about 700 are made available for these persons. Technologies like screen readers make it possible for persons with disabilities to access knowledge in alternate formats like Braille, e-text, audio, large print, et cetera. Yet people are unable to convert books into accessible formats thanks to the provisions of the Indian Copyright Act, 1957.
India needs to change the situation quickly and put an end to the shortage of books and enable these 70 million persons to participate in social life. For this we need to make use of the developments in technology which makes it possible for all persons to access knowledge and enable them to live a life of social inclusion and participation on par with the rest of society. People with disabilities too have a right to access information like other persons- let copyright laws recognize the diverse needs of persons with disabilities and open up the gates of knowledge to all.
Objectives of the Right to Read Campaign
- To expedite copyright law reform by informing policy makers on the necessity and nature of amendment. This has to be made to the Indian Copyright Act 1957 to give effect to the rights of persons with disabilities.
- To raise awareness on the issue amongst the parliamentarians, members of the judiciary, educationalists, publishers and the public.
The Indian campaign is a part of the global Right to Read campaign which was started by the World Blind Union in 2008. It is a nationwide campaign and seeks to:
- Accelerate change in the copyright law;
- Raise public awareness on the issue of access to reading for the print-impaired; and
- Gather Indian support for the Treaty for the Blind proposed by the World Blind Union at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).