The BBC Red Button Teletext Service has been saved from switch off after the NFBUK and British Deaf Association handed in a petition to the Director General of the BBC Lord Hall and to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson at 10 Downing Street on Monday 27th January 2020.
The petition is backed by 175 organisations from across the UK, which included Age UK, the National Association of Deafened People (NADP) and the National Association of Retired Police Officers.
The petition called for an immediate pause to the closure of the BBC Red Button Teletext Service, which is a vital lifeline for many disabled, older and vulnerable people across the UK and is a much loved service by many people across the UK. The petitioners were met at the gates of 10 Downing Street by MP Damian Collins on Monday 27th January 2020, who took immediate action by writing to the Director General of the BBC asking for a halt to the switch off. Within 24 hours, Lord Tony Hall agreed to suspend the switch off and has agreed to meet with Damian Collins MP and campaigners on this issue.
- Andrew Hodgson President of the National Federation of the Blind of the UK ‘This is fantastic news, it is a victory for equality, diversity and disability and the NFBUK along with our fellow petitioners look forward to working with the BBC in an engaging and collaborative manner on this issue. The BBC Red Button teletext is a vital service for the people of Great Britain and is a lifeline to many disabled and elderly people across the nation. We would like to thank the Government and the BBC for listening and acting on the concerns raised.’
- Sarah Gayton, Shared Space Coordinator from the NFBUK stated: ’The NFBUK was extremely worried that the continuity of service would be broken, leaving many disabled and elderly people across the UK isolated and disconnected from society. We were being contacted by people who relied on this service for many reasons and we were fraught with worry what would happen to these people if the BBC Red Button Service Teletext Service was switched off on 30th January 2020. People with autism, epilepsy, house bound, deaf people, people with poor or no internet, people who do not want the internet and many people who loved the simplicity of the service. It is clear that this service is a vital lifeline for people who need to consume news and information in a static form and not using a computer or a small smartphone device. This is a huge victory for the petitioners and the people they represent and it is very clear that this service should never be switched off.’
The NFBUK are asking for people to please contact them with their further personal stories of why they rely, use and love the BBC Red Button Teletext Service, which will be submitted to the BBC and the Government. Please contact NFBUK via voice telephone – 01924 291313, by voice or text to 07903 155858, via email to
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to NFBUK, Sir John Wilson House, 215 Kirkgate, Wakefield, West Yorkshire WF1 1JG.