On Day 1 of the Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF) a panel on Accessible digital information, training and libraries: Reducing discrimination for persons with disability was organised by Gunela Astbrink, vice-president of Internet Society Accessibility Special Interest Group, Australia and her co-organiser Winston Roberts, from IFLA.
Co-lead, Programmes, Srinidhi Raghavan was invited as a panellist, alongside Manager of Disability Resource Centre Manique Gunaratne, of Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, Sri Lanka, and National Consultant on Accessibility Vashkar Bhattachearjee, of Access to Information (A2) Programme of the Prime Minister’s Office, Bangladesh. The panel was moderated by Anju Mangal from World Wide Web Foundation. The panel discussed the importance of formal and informal digital information, support and training for persons with disability who face discrimination in education and employment. Srinidhi shed light upon the situation in India, what barriers are being faced by disabled persons during COVID-19 pandemic, how there was a lack of access to information especially with it being exchanged digitally in inaccessible ways. She also spoke about the intersection of discrimination in gender, disability and tech issues, as when it comes to information on sexual and reproductive health being inaccessible on the internet, where most women go to look for assistance and knowledge. She emphasised that the issue of accessibility and inclusion of people with disabilities cannot just be the responsibility of the disability empowerment department and accessibility should be part of everyone’s advocacy.