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Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC)
Home  > Inclusion and Accessibility  > News  > Public Consultation concerning Internet access and other e-Acessibility Matters

Public Consultation concerning Internet access and other e-Acessibility Matters

 - 18/07/2008

Logotipo do Programa Acesso da UMICThe European Commission has opened a public consultation process into Internet access and other e-Accessibility Matters, which is open until 27 August 2008, with the aim of receiving opinions and reaching common ground on questions concerning Internet accessibility.

E-Accessibility respects the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for disabled persons or those with limited capabilities. The general level of e-Accessibility in the European Union is relatively low, despite various initiatives to improve it.

ICT accessibility for citizens with special needs was one of the issues discussed at the Ministerial Debate on European e-Inclusion Policy, which was held in Lisbon on 2nd – 3rd December 2007 under the scope of the Portuguese Presidency of the European Union, whose Presidency Conclusions, among other e-Inclusion actions, call on the European Commission and Ministers to address barriers to e-Accessibility, beefing up, monitoring and encouraging compliance with e-Accessibility rules.

Portugal was the 1st country in Europe and the 4th in the world to adopt legislation on Public Administration website accessibility on the Internet, with the Council of Ministers’ approval in August 1999 of the National Initiative for Citizens With Special Needs in the Information Society. More recently, a Council of Ministers Resolution was approved on 27th September 2007 setting out guidelines for the Accessibility of Governmental and Central Public Administration websites, setting targets for achieving “A” level conformity pursuant to the guidelines on accessibility of content on the Internet developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) within 3 months, and “AA” level for sites with transactional services within six months. The outcome of this was a significant improvement in the accessibility of Central Public Administration and Government sites on the Internet.

The Internet Access Programme Website (in Portuguese) provides information and tools on ICT accessibility for citizens with special needs and ICT-based help for these citizens. The Access Programme continues the work carried out by the Access Unit – Accessibility for Citizens with Special Needs for the Information Society, which was set up in 1999 under the Ministry of Science & Technology and which was later incorporated into The Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC).

Last updated ( 01/08/2011 )