The web accessibility directive could deny millions of disabled and older citizens equal access to the digital world, exclude them from full participation in society and create unacceptable digital barriers to employment.
These concerns were raised and addressed to the 28 EU Ministers in charge of Digital Affairs by the European Blind Union (EBU) and several other EU NGOs through an open letter stressing that the EU governments’ proposals could prevent millions of disabled and older EU citizens from accessing the kind of digital content that everyone else now takes for granted.
We go online, we use smart phones and we use apps, just like everyone else. This is about our right to access online information, content and services. This is about investing in our common digital future. This is about equality. I am shocked to see that some governments are prepared to go to great lengths to exclude us from the digital world.
As explained by EBU, an organization representing 30 million blind and partially sighted European citizens, far-reaching exemptions proposed include intranet services, downloadable documents, public broadcasters’ websites and even publicly funded NGOs’ websites. EBU and the letter’s signatories are calling on legislators to take on board their recommendations and work with civil society to ensure an inclusive future for all citizens.
Governments have a unique opportunity to make a difference. They must seize this opportunity. We will not accept measures that would ultimately exclude millions of blind and partially sighted citizens from society.
Cover Photo: Getty /MARCIN LOBACZEWSKI