Portuguese Parliament promotes Web Accessibility

Portugal became the fourth country in the world to officially promote web accessibility for people with disabilities, after the United States, Australia and Canada. Internet publication URL: www.independentliving.org/docs5/portweb.html

Portugal became the fourth country in the world to officially promote web accessibility for people with disabilities, after the United States, Australia and Canada.

On July 29, 1999 the Portuguese Government, through its Council of Ministers, approved a resolution making mandatory the adoption of accessibility features for people with disabilities in the Web design of the information made available by the General Directorates and similar agencies, departments or services, as well as that rendered available by any public corporation (State Corporations, State Universities, etc.). Concretely, the design must ensure that:

a) Reading can be performed without resorting to sight, precision movements, simultaneous actions or pointing devices, namely mouses.
b) Information retrieval and searching can be performed via aural, visual or tactile interfaces.
These measures are included in the implementation plan for the National Initiative for Citizens with Special Needs in the Information Society and pursue the Recommendation and Resolution of the Parliamentary Commission for Constitutional Affairs, Rights, Freedoms and Guarantees regarding the "Petition for the Accessibility of the Portuguese Internet", approved on the 30th of June, 1999, which called for the adoption of appropriate measures to guarantee to all citizens with special needs (specially people with disabilities and the elderly) full accessibility to information made available by the Government and all other public services on the Internet.


Petition for the Accessibility of the Portuguese Internet

The "Petition for the Accessibility of the Portuguese Internet", coordinated by the Portuguese Accessibility Special Interest Group (PASIG), was submitted by email to the Portuguese Parliament, in February, after collecting 9,000 electronic signatures in http://www.acessibilidade.net.

This petition, innovative in its form (first electronic petition submitted to a Parliament in Europe) and content, proposed the adoption of a set of basic rules to be applied in the production of the information offered on the Internet by the Government and all other public services, with the purpose of facilitating its access to people with special needs.


About PASIG - Portuguese Accessibility Special Interest Group

PASIG's original name is "GUIA - Grupo Português pelas Iniciativas em Acessibilidade". GUIA, which means "guide" in Portuguese, is the acronym for "Portuguese Group for Accessibility Initiatives".

PASIG is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting Portuguese initiatives in the accessibility field. The Petition was the first official initiative of PASIG, which also joins other efforts that have been conducted in order to face the accessibility issue, as the "Web Accessibility Initiative" promoted by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) at the international level, or even the "National Initiative for the Citizens with Special Needs in the Information Society" promoted by the Portuguese Government through the Mission for the Information Society.


Additional Information

Portuguese Web Accessibility Milestones:

Petition: 3rd of December, 1998 till 31st of January, 1999
Petition submission: 17th of February, 1999
Parliament Resolution: 30th of June, 1999
Council of Ministers Resolution: 29th of July, 1999

For more information see:

Council of Ministers Resolution
http://www.acessibilidade.net/petition/government_resolution.html

Parliament Report
http://www.acessibilidade.net/petition/parliament_report.html

PASIG and Petition for the Accessibility of the Portuguese Internet
http://www.acessibilidade.net/index_eng.html

Contact:
Francisco Godinho
f.godinho@mail.telepac.pt

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