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Graeme Innes’s greatest media access hits

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With Graeme Innes finishing up in his role as Disability Discrimination Commissioner today, Media Access Australia takes the opportunity to look back at some of his greatest achievements in improving access to media for people with disabilities.

Innes, who has been blind since birth, completed a law degree in 1977. He was a hearing commissioner with the then Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission from 1994 to 2001, Deputy Disability Discrimination Commissioner from 1999 to 2005, and has been Disability Discrimination Commissioner since 2005. He contributed to the drafting of the United Nations’ ‘Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities’, and was an advisor during the development of the National Disability Strategy.


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ACMA releases data on teens’ web use

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has released statistics on how Australian teenagers use the internet, showing that almost all of them are connected, and demonstrating the importance of making web, applications and communications devices like smartphones and tablets accessible to people with a disability.

Aussie teens online is not only a great snapshot of the role the web plays in the lives of young Australians, but it is also valuable in helping web accessibility professionals as well as content authors, designers and developers think about how they need to make the web and devices accessible for the next generation of users.

Digital media and technology: 

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Australia signs treaty to increase print access for blind and vision impaired

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On 23 June 2014, the Australian Government signed the ‘Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled’.

Last year, 51 countries signed the treaty, which will give blind and vision impaired people greater access to works in accessible formats like braille and audio. Currently, due to copyright restrictions, only between 1 and 7 percent of the world’s published books are made available in these formats.


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Red Bee Media releases caption quality report

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Red Bee Media Australia has released the first of a planned series of reports into the quality of its live captioning.

The report gives percentage scores for the accuracy of 21 news, sport and discussion programs which were captioned live. The scores were obtained using the NER Model developed by Pablo Romero Fresco of Roehampton University and Juan Martinez of the University of Barcelona.


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Accessibility of online services grows: UN

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The accessibility of online services around the world has dramatically increased in the last two years, according to United Nations (UN).

In its 2014 e-Government Survey, the UN stated that in the two years since its 2012 survey the percentage of government websites with information for “disadvantaged and vulnerable groups”, including people with disabilities, had grown from 28 per cent to 64 per cent.

This, the UN said, was due to the greater recognition by governments around the world of the enabling power of the internet and information and communications technology (ICT).


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FCC to promote social media accessibility

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The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is to facilitate an industry discussion on making social media tools and content accessible to people with disabilities.

The event, Accessibility & Innovation (A&I) Initiative, on July 17 will seek to heighten awareness among technology developers and media producers so that they are inspired to increase the level of social media accessibility.

Digital media and technology: 

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Association for the Blind of WA changes name to VisAbility and launches new website

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The Association for the Blind of WA, the state’s primary disability service provider for people who are blind and vision impaired, has changed its name to VisAbility and launched a new accessible website.

According to VisAbility’s press release, the change comes after extensive independent research and consumer consultation, and will allow the organisation to better welcome and represent people with low vision who want to access its services.

With a little as five per cent of people with vision impairment experiencing total blindness, many Western Australians living with low vision – who may not identify themselves as ‘blind’ – are missing out on vital services.


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Annual LEAD conference for accessible arts set for August

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Chicago will host the annual Leadership Exchange in the Arts and Disability (LEAD) conference from 1-6 August this year, bringing together arts practitioners from around the world.

Established in 2000, LEAD attracts people in the arts industry whose common goal is to create cultural arts programs that are inclusive of people with disabilities and seniors. Presenters from around the world bring their expertise to the stage and this year’s conference includes presentations on:


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Challenges of captioning and copyrights

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Media Access Australia spoke to Blake E. Reid, Assistant Clinical Professor at Colorado Law, following his chairing of a session at the M-Enabling Summit on copyright and third party captioning.

The session at M-Enabling covered issues such as the proliferation of inaccessible video content, the need for third party captioning, and the dangers of captioning infringing on the copyrights of audio-visual content owners.


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Red Bee Media Spain wins audio description award

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Red Bee Media Spain has won an ATRAE award for the best audio description on Spanish television for its work on The Simpsons.

ATRAE, the Spanish Association of Audiovisual Translation and Adaptation, represents all areas of audiovisual translation and adaptation, from translation subtitling and access services to dubbing, voiceover and video game translation. This was the second ATRAE awards, and the first time that Red Bee Media has won one of them.


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