By Iminza Keboge
Published April 17, 2017
Africa and the Guinean capital, Conakry, shall be in focus as publishing houses, bookstores, libraries, cultural institutions and associations of authors mobilise across the world to promote reading, publishing, and protection of intellectual property during the World Book and Copyright Day on April 23, 2017.
The Day shall also mark the beginning of the term of Conakry, the capital of Guinea Conakry’s as World Book Capital (2017-2018). UNESCO says it has chosen ‘on account of the quality and diversity of its programme’, ‘its focus on community involvement’ and ‘for its well-structured budget and clear development goals with a strong emphasis on youth and literacy’.
A statement from UNESCO, United Nations’ specialised agency for education, science and cultural matters, says the day shall be marked with activities aimed at promoting African literature at its headquarters in Paris, France, on April 24, 2017.
Not to be forgotten shall be the blind and the visually-impaired for whom, UNESCO says, “there is difficulty accessing books and other printed materials, which constitutes an obstacle to their full and effective participation in society.”
Quoting the World Blind Union (WBU), UNESCO says that less than 10% (1% in developing countries) of the millions of books published worldwide each year are in formats that are accessible to the blind.
“World Book and Copyright Day is an opportunity to highlight the power of books to promote our vision of knowledge societies that are inclusive, pluralistic, equitable, open and participatory for all citizens,” UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, says in her message given on the occasion of the World Book and Copyright Day 2017.
In accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, UNESCO advocates for the rights and needs of persons with disabilities and encourages the effective use of accessible, adaptive and affordable ICTs.
The World Book and Copyright Day is celebrated every year on April 23, the date on which both renowned English playwright William Shakespeare and revered Spanish novelist Miguel de Cervantes are said to have died.