The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has joined the call for publishers and other relevant stakeholders to ensure that books and educational materials are made in accessible formats for visually impaired persons (VIPs).
Several calls were made in the past for publishers and schools to consider visually impaired persons when producing educational materials.
Some days ago, the National Association of the Visually Impaired lamented that its members face rejection from tertiary institutions in their chosen courses while some have dropped out of school.
Early this year, the group lamented the lack of access to books due to the extant copyright laws in Nigeria that prohibit the conversion of books to readable formats for visually impaired persons.
The Director-General of NCC, Dr John Asein, made the call in Abuja while delivering a goodwill message to mark Nigeria’s ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty.
He said, “It is important that we continually find ways to ensure that the copyright system helps all Nigerians, irrespective of disabilities, to realise their full potential.
“The domestication of the Marrakesh Treaty under the Copyright Act would promote access and push back the book famine in Nigeria.
“It will also ensure quality education for a large section of the society who live with a print disability,” the DG said.
Asein said agencies in the knowledge ecosystem should encourage inclusive publishing and ensure that more books are available, particularly for blind, visually impaired and print-disabled children.
The Marrakesh VIP Treaty is a treaty on copyright adopted in Marrakesh, Morocco, on June 27, 2013, with 93 contracting parties covering 119 World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Member States.
The treaty seeks to remedy a “book famine” for people who are unable to access standard print materials.
Before the implementation of the treaty, the World Blind Union estimated that over 90 per cent of copyrighted works were not produced in accessible formats in developing countries.
The treaty was ratified by Nigeria on