Tuesday, 4 February 2020

NFBUK forces a pause to 'Red Button' removal at the BBC.

Image result for bBC red button text service"The NFBUK has begun an urgent petition to help save this vital service. 

STOP PRESS: The BBC was going to withdraw/close the red button service on 30th January 2020.  We’ve successfully campaigned for the BBC to suspend closure pending further enquiries and discussions with affected groups.  BBC director general Tony Hall said he would examine the concerns and make "a fresh decision" in the spring.

The BBC Red Button Teletext service is vital for visually impaired, deaf, disabled and older people, as well as many other people who want to find out information independently in an easy, convenient and accessible format, who are not online. 

The NFBUK is concerned that by withdrawing the Red Button Teletext service, it will leave many people, who are already vulnerable, further isolated and marginalised from society. The NFBUK cannot understand how the BBC can meet its obligations set out in the Royal Charter (1) for public broadcast, if the Red Button Teletext service is withdrawn. The NFBUK has undertaken an internet search and cannot find any reference to a recent Public Interest Test being undertaken on the withdrawal of the BBC Red Button Teletext Service. 

This is required for any significant changes in the provision of services provided by the BBC. NFBUK believes that a ‘Public Interest Test’ is undertaken in collaboration and consultation with disabled peoples organisations, charities and organisations for and of disabled and older people and all other affected groups. The aim of the petition is: The NFBUK wants to petition to pause the switch off of the Red Button Teletext service, for public scrutiny on how this decision was made, ensure all required assessments that were not undertaken to now be done with the aim of keeping the BBC Red Button Teletext service switched on and enhanced, with the addition of a speech element so that it is inclusive. 

The petition wording is: 

An immediate pause on the withdrawal of the BBC Red Button Teletext service planned for 30 January 2020. Immediate clarification and public scrutiny on how the BBC came to the decision to switch off the BBC Red Button Teletext in relation to: The BBC’s Mission and five Public Purposes outlined in the Royal Charter (1); BBC Broadcast Agreement with Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport December 2016 (2); BBC’s Public Sector Equality Duties under the Equality Act 2010 – has an Equality Impact Assessment been undertaken? The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Articles 9 on Accessibility and 21 Freedom of Expression and Opinion, and Access to Information. Request all assessments that may not have been undertaken in reaching the decision to switch off the Red Button Teletext Service and ensure these are undertaken, and for these to be performed in an inclusive and accessible manner, to ensure hard to reach users of the service are fully engaged in this process. 

This is to include full collaboration, engagement and consultation with disabled people’s organisations, charities and organisations for and of disabled, older and vulnerable people, who are not online, or do not use the internet much and other groups of people who are important for these assessments. Retain the BBC Red Button Teletext Service and ensure the service becomes fully accessible with a speech option added to ensure that the BBC can fulfil its Mission, Public Purposes and its Public Sector Equality Duty under the Equality Act 2010.

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