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Robert Pearson

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Event Reviews: ITU Workshop Making Media Accessible to All and 16th Annual Accessing Higher Ground Conference

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Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) had the opportunity to participate and present at two significant events held recently, centering on media accessibility, the ITU Workshop in Geneva and the 16th Annual Accessing Higher Ground Conference in the United States.

Media and Web AccessibilityThe ITU Workshop held in Geneva, Switzerland was the culmination of work completed by the ITU Focus Group on Audiovisual Media Accessibility (FGAVA). “The main objective of this Focus Group was to address the need to make audiovisual media accessible for persons with disabilities.”

Being led by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the group brought together subject matter experts globally to discuss, formulate and outline potential standards that could serve the needs of persons with disabilities by providing accessible audiovisual communications. It is anticipated that the work completed by this group will foster the ongoing development and establishment of the discipline of media accessibility. This will then lead to the standardization of communications technologies and in turn, accessibility by the widest possible audience. To that end, AMI presented its Canadian broadcasting industry adopted work related to Described Video Best Practices with the intent of showcasing how they may be relevant in the development of standards globally related to Described Video (audio description).

Similarly, at the 16th Annual Accessing Higher Ground Conference on Accessible Media, Web and Technology 2013 (Westminster, United States), we once again presented the Described Video Best Practices to an audience focused more towards educational accessibility. Hosted by the Association on Higher Education and Disability each year in Colorado, this conference is well attended and can be of benefit to those in any discipline focused on the provision of media accessibility. The conference includes multiple sessions focused on disability technology and accessibility and also provides a virtual conference stream for those unable to attend in person. AMI has presented at this event over the last three years and will continue to use this conference as a valuable resource and annual industry connection point.

Clearly, the need for provision of media accessibility in many forms is becoming more evident as standards are established and the recognition of previously excluded audiences to content takes place. Being an organization focused on making accessible media for all Canadians, we feel that participation in events such as these is important to ensure the continued recognition of the need. Furthermore, we work to contribute any knowledge and resources developed to further the progression of the discipline.

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