Release Date: 
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

National Federation of the Blind and Others Demand E-Reader Accessibility

Disability Advocates Oppose E-Reader Waiver Petition

Baltimore, Maryland (September 5, 2013): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the leading advocate for equal access to technology by the blind, announced today that it has submitted official comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in opposition to a petition by the Coalition of E-Reader Manufacturers that seeks to permanently exempt e-readers from the accessibility requirements of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA).  The NFB was joined in its opposition to the waiver petition by twenty-two other organizations representing the interests of people with disabilities, including the American Council of the Blind, the World Blind Union, the National Association of the Deaf, the American Association of People with Disabilities, the National Center for Learning Disabilities, the Association on Higher Education and Disability, and more. 
Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “We and other advocates for people with disabilities have fought for equal access to e-books and e-readers for many years now, not only because e-readers will allow the blind and other people who cannot read print to gain equal access to books in general but because e-readers are increasingly purchased for and used in classrooms at all levels of education, making it increasingly impossible for people with disabilities to obtain an equal education without access to these devices.  E-reader manufacturers are well aware of our advocacy, which makes the claims that they have put before the FCC both disingenuous and disrespectful.  It is particularly detestable for them to claim that accessible e-readers will not benefit readers with disabilities.  Accessible e-reading devices will benefit not only students and consumers with a broad range of disabilities that make it difficult or impossible for them to read print, but will ultimately benefit e-reader manufacturers, who will find that a large group of new consumers are eager to purchase their products.  We urge the FCC to deny the offensive and wrongheaded petition from the Coalition of E-Reader Manufacturers.”