Centre for Internet & Society

The European Blind Union and the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue supported an event sponsored by seven MEPs in the European Parliament to discuss the way forward for EU to support the Treaty for the Blind, Visually Impaired and Other Reading Disabled which has been proposed at the World Intellectual Property Organisation by Brazil, Mexico, Ecuador and Paraguay.

Around 250-300 stakeholders, experts and EU officials came together to discuss the way forward for the EU to support a binding Treaty for the Blind. The half day event consisted of three panels. The first panel was titled 'how the blind read problems and solutions. The speakers were Rodolfo Catani (European Blind Union, Italy), Pete Osborne (Royal National Institute for the Blind, UK) and Nirmita Narasimhan (Centre for Internet and Society, India). The panel was moderated by Manon Ress (Knowledge Ecology International). The panelists focused on the technological developments which enabled reading, the lack of reading materials despite the availability of reading gadgets and the specific problems of developing countries which necessitate a Treaty. The second panel was titled Why a binding treaty for the visually impaired at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)? The speakers were Barbara Martin (Organización Nacional de Ciegos, Spain), James Love (Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue, USA), Dan Pescod (Royal National Institute for the Blind, UK) and Tilman Lüder (DG Markt, Head of Unit). The panel was moderated by MEP Ska Keller. The panel spent a lot of time answering queries of member states as to why there was the need for a binding treaty and why a soft instrument would not work at this stage. The final panel was: What is the opinion of the EP and the Commission. The speakers were MEPs: Ska Keller, Thijs Berman, Dieter-Lebrecht Koch, Oriol Junqueras Vies and Eva Lichtenberger followed by a response from Tilman Lüder (DG Markt, Head of Unit). MEP Thijs Bermanwas moderator and gave his closing remarks for the panel. He concluded with a very strong message to the EU member states to support the Treaty.

Read Nirmita's report on the event

Click here for the article in the Parliament

Click here for Knowledge Ecology International

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