Speech by Alice Bah Kuhnke at MTM's conference "Take Part"

Stockholm, 17 May 2016.
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Your majesty, dear friends, I too would like to welcome you to Stockholm and Take Part! I am thrilled to be here and to have the opportunity to address you all before you start this conference.

The Swedish Agency for Accessible Media, MTM todays host, receives its mandate from the Swedish Parliament as well as the Government and the Ministry of Culture.

That mandate is to ensure that people with reading impairments can access literature, daily newspapers, and community information, regardless of reading ability, regardless of literacy and regardless of disabilities.

Easy access to information is also the goal of the international DAISY Consortium that is co-hosting todays conference, well expressed in their motto "Creating the best way to read and publish".

Sweden has a long tradition of international cooperation regarding accessible solutions and technological developments. The DAISY system is as you all know a Swedish invention that became an international standard.

The title of the conference Take Part – Human Perspectives on Inclusive Publishing - reflects the focus of the conference: accessibility in a broad perspective, where democracy and accessibility are considered as prerequisites for full participation in society.

The link between technological development and functionality is vital to ensure that everyone has access to information based on the person's needs and functional abilities. The right to everyone to information and participation is essential in an inclusive society

As you know, every two years the DAISY Consortium, in collaboration with the hosting country, organises a technical meeting in order to present new findings, analyse future needs of development, share experiences and deepen contacts with commercial actors in the field.

This year, 2016, the DAISY Consortium celebrates its 20th anniversary and you do it in the way you like the best, by organising a meeting where global skills assemble to share information and experience, to enhance a democratic society where information is accessible and where everybody can take part.

The goal for me as minister for culture and democracy is to safeguard the democratic right to information, in a way that complies with the needs of the person. This is a matter of democracy, a matter of human rights and also of course a matter of access to culture. All of which are central to me, and to the government.

The government is constantly working with accessibility. In the negotiations of EU-directives concerning web accessibility and the new general directive on accessibility that is currently being circulated. The new Swedish discrimination act now states that lack of accessibility is a form of discrimination.

We live in a time when all countries have to return to our core values of humanism, democracy and inclusion. In this work, equal access to literature and culture is fundamental. In a time where information is vital to be able to be an active partaker in society, access to information is fundamental. It cannot be underlined enough.

I once again welcome you here and I hope that you will have a productive and inspiring meeting!