Vatican says the blind need access to books

July 1, 2013

While Church leaders repeatedly call for global aid for the poor and hungry, a Vatican official urged efforts to end another sort of hunger: the so-called "book famine."

"Only one per cent of the books in developing and least developed countries . . . are available in formats accessible to blind people," said Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican's permanent observer to UN agencies in Geneva.

The percentage in developed countries is only five per cent, he said.

In a June 18 talk to the World Intellectual Property Organization's conference in Morocco, Tomasi called for an adjustment to copyright laws to better suit the needs of the 285 million people worldwide who are visually impaired.