International policy and legislation

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UN releases report on international ICT accessibility


The Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (G3ICT), an arm of the United Nations, has released a report on international developments in ICT accessibility, finding a gap between countries’ commitment and real-world implementation.

The ‘Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2010 ICT Accessibility Progress Report’ has found that, while many countries have statements of commitment on the rights of people with disabilities to access ICT, much more work is needed to implement real access solutions.

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Ofcom publishes 2012 TV access requirements


Ofcom, the UK media and communications regulator, has published its mid-year statement on 2012 TV access requirements, requiring increased captioning and audio description across UK television channels.

The statement, ‘Television channels required to provide access services in 2012’, has the following outcomes for 2012:

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FCC reminds broadcasters to make emergency information accessible


The US communications and media regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has published a Public Notice reminding broadcasters, cable and satellite television operators and all other domestic video program providers to provide access services on emergency information.

Given the recent floods and tornados across the United States, the FCC emphasised the importance of ensuring that people who have vision or hearing impairment have access to emergency information, especially all ‘critical details’ pertaining to the emergency, and how to respond.

The requirement applies to all distributors of video programming to American households, with no exceptions. All distributors must ensure the information they provide is accessible, whatever signal or medium they use to distribute the contact.

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Wells Fargo reaches settlement that will guarantee equal access


The United States Justice Department and Wells Fargo & Company have reached a comprehensive settlement agreement under the Americans with Disabilities Act which will ensure equal access to all Wells Fargo services, including website services, for people with disabilities.

Wells Fargo has been the subject of numerous complaints by Deaf and hearing impaired people, as well as people with speech difficulties, many of which related to the company’s refusal to use the telecommunications relay service.

As part of the settlement, Wells Fargo will ensure that its 10,000 retail and banking stores, over 12,000 ATMs, and phone and website services will be fully accessible. It will also pay US$16 million in compensation to individuals, and a US$55,000 civil penalty to the United States.

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