Tuesday, May 31, 2011

ITU's Focus Group on Audiovisual Media Accessibility (FGAVA)

ITU-T Focus Group on Audiovisual Media Accessibility (FGAVA) was proposed by ITU-T Study Group 16 for creation in-between TSAG meetings. The Terms of Reference of the Focus Group are available here.

The main objective of this Focus Group is to address the need to make audiovisual media accessible for persons with disabilities. The Focus Group encourages participation of all standards development organizations (SDOs) working in this area.
The Focus Group will encourage:

(a) People to become involved in the accessibility work of ITU.
(b) The participation of persons with disabilities.
(c) The participation of universities.
(d) The participation of company accessibility departments.

The latest meeting of the ITU's Focus Group on Audiovisual Media Accessibilit­y (FGAVA) took place on 26 May. Those participating included universities and research centres, organisations representing persons with disabilities, AV media companies, network and service providers, vendors, organisations representing consumer electronics manufacturers, WIPO, government and regulatory bodies.

The aim of this meeting was to define the scope of the group's work – interpret the objectives, define core terms and agree on procedures. The Focus Group addressed the need to mainstream audiovisual media accessibility focusing on making digital media accessible for all, in particular for the elderly and persons with disabilities.

It was decided to organise the work within the areas, including captioning, audio/video description and spoken captions, visual signing and sign language, emerging access services and electronic programming guides and on-air promotion.

It was also decided to organise the work in the areas, including participation and digital media, digital broadcast television, IPTV, mobile and handheld devices, key performance indicators for the accessibility of broadcast television, IPTV and metadata and mobile and hand-held devices.

Eight deliverables were agreed, one of which covers guidelines on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. During the eighteen month life of the Focus Group, participants will collect issues and problems related to implementation of the Convention and problems from persons with disabilities and persons with age-related functional impairments.

In addition, it will collect examples of good practice through case studies and other means, and prepare guidelines for the inclusion of access services in all digital AV user devices. The next meeting will take place 15 September this year in Geneva, Switzerland.

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