MTM – a national knowledge centre for accessible media

The Swedish Agency for Accessible Media, MTM, strives to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to read on their own terms. We are a publicly funded agency under the Ministry of Culture. Our mission is to be a national knowledge centre for accessible media.

We promote and guide the universal design of literature, news and societal information. We also engage in format development and participatory adaptation work. MTM facilitates access to literature under the Marrakesh Treaty and produces accessible books distributed in various formats, such as talkning books, braille books and e-textbooks through our digital library, Legimus. In addition to producing accessible copies of general literature, MTM also has a specific assignment to meet the needs of students in higher education for accessible course literature. 

MTM also publishes easy-to-read Swedish books through LL-förlaget. The newspaper 8 Sidor, which is editorially independent from MTM, publishes easy-to-read news. 

The Swedish talking book model 

The state and libraries in Sweden collaborate to provide users with access to talking books. This collaboration is called the Swedish talking book model. MTM is responsible for the production of talking books and other accessible media. The regional libraries are responsible for regional services and information. The municipal libraries and university libraries are responsible for the actual lending. 

Entitlement to adapted literature 

Section 17 of the Swedish Copyright Act regulates the production and use of accessible media for people with disabilities who need this to access the work, i.e. people with reading impairments. According to the Marrakesh Treaty, each country decides whether copyright owners should be compensated when an accessible copy is made. In Sweden, the copyright owner is entitled to compensation when libraries and organisations distribute copies of works to people with reading impairments, so that these individuals get to keep a copy of the work.          

Promoting research in accessible reading 

MTM collaborates closely with the research community in areas concerning the agency. We also produce reports and studies. If we do not possess the knowledge we need, we may sometimes initiate and fund small research projects in cooperation with scholars from various scientific disciplines. This might involve creating a research overview concerning a specific subject area where we need more knowledge, or seeking funds for a research project together with researchers. An essential part of the research-promoting work is bringing together various scientific disciplines to generate understanding about accessible reading from different perspectives. An example of this is the way that MTM’s Scientific council is made up of researchers from multiple disciplines. 

Promoting universal design of literature, news and societal information 

MTM works to guide and inspire societal stakeholders to contribute to increased participation and accessible reading experiences. We promote accessible crisis and societal information so that more people can access life-saving information. We encourage the media and publishing houses to design their products and services according to the principle of universal design, so that news and literature are produced and distributed in an accessible manner. We steer towards standards and guidelines for accessibility and highlight best practices within accessibility. A particular focus is on accessible book publishing pursuant to the new law, Act (2023:254), on the accessibility of certain products and services. This law, which comes into effect in 2025, covers a range of products and services, including e-books and the software used to read e-books. The European Accessibility ACT, adopted in 2019, serves as a background to this law.

 

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