Book Apartheid

Investigative report by Debbie Potgieter, Palesa Mashigo and Robyn Perros

This 10minute documentary investigates why only 0.5% of all books are accessible to the 800,000 visually impaired persons in South Africa due to copyright laws. The absence of these resources means that visually impaired persons face fewer educational and employment opportunities and higher illiteracy rates — making them one of the countries’ most economically and socially disadvantaged groups. The World Information Property Organization (WIPO) hosts a discussion to remove the strict copyright barriers that help create what is being called the “book famine” or “book apartheid.” We exammine how a bureaucratically burdensome treaty would do nothing to help end the book famine; but if a workable treaty were agreed upon, a new chapter would be opened for the inclusion of blind and print disabled people in our society.

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