World Book and Copyright Day (WBCD) is being observed today. The day seeks to raise awareness about importance of reading and promote publishing and the protection of copyright around the globe.
It is a yearly event organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The focus, this year is on the visually impaired to have easy access to printed materials. In 1995, UNESCO at its General Conference held in Paris chose 23rd of April to celebrate World Book Day as it is a highly symbolic date for world literature.
It is on this date in 1616 that Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died. It is also the date of birth or death of other prominent authors, such as Maurice Druon, Haldor K.Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and Manuel Mejía Vallejo.
In a message, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said, there is currently a book famine in the world because people with visual impairments as well as physical and learning disabilities don’t have access to a lot of books that are specifically made for them.
Each year, UNESCO and the international organizations representing the three major sectors of the book industry – publishers, booksellers and libraries, select the World Book Capital for a one-year period that starts every April 23.
Ms Bokova said for 2017, Conakry in Guinea has been designated World Book Capital 2017. A series of events, conferences, debates, exhibition, workshops are being held around the world to mark the day.