17 August 2014

Zambia: ZICTA Tips Service Providers

THE Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) has challenged service providers under its ambit not to exclude persons with disabilities in their service provision.

ZICTA is mandated under the Information Communications Technology, Economic Communications Transaction and Postal Services Act to effectively regulate the ICT and postal sector.

ZICTA consumer protection officer, Edgar Mlauzi, said Zambia was party to the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and as such the country must be seen to be upholding their rights in all sectors, not least in the ICT sector.

The purpose of the UN Convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.

Mr Mlauzi said mobile phone service providers should be looking at printing scratch cards in braille while other ICT providers must also make their centres accessible to persons with disabilities.

"We need to get to a level where all post offices and internet cafes countrywide should be accessible to people with disabilities by way of accessible wheelchair ways and other means," he said.

He said service providers needed to respect the UN charter on universal design of products, environments, and services to be usable by all people without the exclusion of assistive devices for particular groups of persons with disabilities.

Mr Mlauzi said the authority would enforce the law to ensure service providers adhered to the laid down regulations in the ICT sector.

The ZICTA consumer protection officer also said service providers must ensure the rights of children are respected at all times.

A ZICTA team is in Northern Province to conduct consumer awareness programmes after concluding a similar exercise in Muchinga Province last week.

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